Reported violent crime in the U.S. dropped 3.2 percent last year, despite a 1.3 percent increase in murder, says the FBI’s preliminary Uniform Crime Reports. Property crime remained almost exactly the same.
Crime has remained “impressively flat” over the past four years, said criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University.
Murder jumped 15.7 percent in the cities with populations under 10,000. Blumstein said the big gain in murders in small cities could be a result of illegal drug activity moving into smaller communities where there are fewer law enforcement officials and declining economic conditions. Blumstein cited forces that could lead to a future increase in crime, including a reduction in the number of police officers because of budget cutbacks, the shift of law enforcement resources to counterterrorism operations, and sluggish employment numbers.