There were three percent fewer violent crimes reported in the U.S. last year, although murders went up slightly, the FBI said today. The Associated Press says the bureau’s annual crime summary found just under 1.4 million crimes of murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault in 2003, 3 percent fewer than 2002 and a decline of more than 25 percent from 1994. The 2003 figure is a rate of 475 violent crimes for every 100,000 Americans, a 3.9 percent decrease from the previous year. Aggravated assaults, which make up two-thirds of all violent crimes, have dropped for 10 straight years.
The 16,503 slayings reported by police to the FBI was an 1.7 percent increase from the year before. Nearly eight in 10 murder victims last year were male and 90 percent were adults. Prperty crimes such as burglary, theft and theft of motor vehicles dropped slightly, with the overall total of 10.4 million crimes in 2003, a decline of less than 1 percent. AP notes that the drop in crime has made it far less of a political issue. President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry rarely mention it in campaign speeches and polls indicate few voters rank crime as a top concern facing the country.