Violent crime reports continued to rise last year, a top FBI official told the Associated Press, previewing a survey detailing nationwide increases in murders, robberies, and other felonies for a second straight year. The rising crime rate, in an FBI report expected next week, counters Justice Department attempts to tamp down violence by sending more funds to local police and studying U.S. cities for clues on how the increase began. Assistant FBI director John Miller said the FBI’s findings will largely mirror those of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington think-tank that in March reported spikes in the number of big-city murders, robberies, and gun crimes.
That survey “showed that there would be, in all likelihood, a continued uptick in violent crime, particularly among midsized American cities,” Miller said during an interview taped for C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program. Preliminary numbers the FBI released in December showed violent crimes rose by 3.7 percent nationwide during the first six months of 2006. A Justice Department study released this month of 18 cities and suburban regions indicates youth violence, gangs, and gun crime largely are to blame for the increasing rates. Gonzales also has promised to help local police combat gangs and guns with $50 million this year and up to $200 million in 2008. Miller said the FBI’s focus on counterterror investigations since the 2001 attacks have inevitably resulted in fewer agents devoted to traditional crime fighting.