Americans were robbed and victimized by gun violence at greater rates in 2005 than 2004, even though overall violent and property crime reached a 32-year low, says the new Justice Department victimization survey reported by the Associated Press. The study confirms reports from the FBI and many mayors and police chiefs that violent crime is beginning to rise after a long decline. Last year, there were two violent gun crimes for every 1,000 individuals, compared with 1.4 in 2004. There were 2.6 robberies for every 1,000 people, compared with 2.1 the year before. “This report tells us (the more serious) events, robbery and gun crimes, increased, and the FBI already told us homicides increased,” said criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University. “So while the report shows the more numerous but least serious violence – simple assaults, which is pushing and shoving – went down, the mix got worse in terms of severity. That wasn’t a very good trade-off,” he said.
Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty listened to complaints about dwindling federal anti-crime aid from several dozen mayors and police chiefs at a late-August meeting. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said later that cities will have to work harder but should not count on more federal money because of growing demands in the fight against terrorism. Gonzales met privately in New York last Thursday with three state police executives and the police chiefs of Los Angeles, Miami and Providence, R.I., the Associated Press reported.