Violent Crime on Rise; Property Crime Falling, FBI Says

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By Lance J. Rogers

Sept. 28 — The murder rate across the country surged by nearly 11 percent in 2015 and violent crime in general rose by 3.9 percent, the FBI announced Sept. 26 in its annual report Crime in the United States.

Those statistics could be used to fuel Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s argument that the nation, and its cities in particular, are in a state of crisis that justifies using more aggressive policing tactics, like New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk program.

Other data, however, can be used to support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s argument that get-tough initiatives like stop-and-frisk are fraught with systemic bias.

Although the latest Census Bureau statistics indicate that blacks constitute only 13.1 percent of the overall population, the FBI report says blacks accounted for 26.6 percent of all persons arrested in 2015.

Almost 70 percent ( 69.7 percent) of all persons arrested were white and the remaining 3.6 percent were other races, the report says.

Property Crimes Down

There were roughly 1.2 million violent crimes reported in 2015, which is a slight jump from the 1.15 million reported in 2014, the report says. But that total is well below the 1.7 million peak reported in 1996.

The report defines a violent crime as any offense that involves force or threat of force. It includes murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Guns were used in 71.5 percent of the murders, 40.8 percent of robberies and 24.2 percent of aggravated assaults, the report says.

Chicago tallied the most murders, with 478, up from 411 in 2014. But Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., led the field with most murders per 100,000 residents.

There have already been 553 murders in the Windy City this year.

Property crimes—including burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson— fell by 2.6 percent from 2014, the report says.

The total value of reported stolen property, such as currency, jewelry, cars, electronics and firearms, was roughly $12.4 billion,.

Racial Breakdowns

More than 73 percent of all persons arrested in 2015 were males, and males accounted for 79.7 percent of all persons arrested for violent crimes, the report says. Males were the perpetrators in 89 percent of the murders, it adds.

Of the murder victims for whom race was known, 53.1 percent were black, 44.2 percent were white and 2.8 percent were other races.

When the race of the killer was known, 53.3 percent were identified as black, 44.0 percent were white and 2.7 percent were other races.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lance J. Rogers in Washington at LRogers@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bna.com

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