The rate of property crime and violent crime other than homicides remained at a 30-year low in 2003, the Justice Department said Sunday. Statistics on the homicide rate are gathered more slowly, but they appear to be following a similar trend, reports the New York Times. In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 2002, there were 16,200 homicides, up 1 percent from 2001, the Justice Department said. The government report did not cite causes for the statistics or predict trends.
“There is probably no single factor explanation for why the crime rates have been going down all these years and are now at the lowest level since we started measuring them in 1973,” said Lawrence A. Greenfeld, director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. “It probably has to do with demographics, and it probably has to do with having a lot of very high-rate offenders behind bars.” The results form the National Crime Victimization Survey, based on interviews with people in 84,000 households, and show a steady decline from 1993 until 2002 in the rates of violent crime and property crimes, and then a leveling off. The number of victims of violent crimes for 2003 was 22.6 per 1,000 people, down from 49.9 in 1993. The rate of property crimes was much higher but also declined. In 2003, it was 163.2 per 1,000 people, down almost 49 percent from 1993.