Violent crime reports in the U.S. increased 2.5 percent last year, says the FBI’s preliminary annual survey out today. Property crime reports dropped 1.6 percent from 2004. Murders were up 4.8 percent, robberies, 4.5 percent, and aggravated assaults up 1.9 percent. Forcible rape reports were down 1.9 percent. Violent crime reports dropped slightly in cities of more than 1 million population, but they increased in all other population categories. Cities with populations between 100,000 and 250,000 had the largest increase in murders, 12.5 percent. 2005. Midwestern states had the steepest increase in violent crime reports, 5.7 percent.
Among property crimes, larceny-theft offenses were down 2.5 percent, and motor vehicle thefts showed no significant change from the previous year's data. Burglary showed a 0.6-percent increase. Final crime statistics for 2005 will be published this fall on the FBI's Internet site. The Associated Press said criminal justice experts said the statistics reflect the nation’s complacency in fighting crime, a product of dramatic declines in the 1990s and the abandonment of effective programs that emphasized prevention, putting more police officers on the street and controlling the spread of guns. “We see that budgets for policing are being slashed and the federal government has gotten out of that business,” said criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University.