Violent crime reports in the U.S. dropped 4 percent last year, the preliminary FBI Uniform Crime Report said today. Property crime reports were down .8 percent compared with 2010. The report is based on information submitted voluntarily by 14,009 law enforcement agencies, and doesn’t include the many crimes not reported to police.
In some cities there are mounting questions about whether statistics really portray the entire crime picture. The Crime Report recently reported on a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation into an apparent pattern of crime misreporting by that city's police department.
The paper reported that more than 500 violent incidents from 2009 to 2011 had been incorrectly categorized as minor assaults, a figure that could mean the city had seen a slight increase in violent crime in 2011, instead of the 2.3 percent decline touted by Police Chief Edward Flynn in February.
If the final FBI Uniform Crime Report compilation later this year also shows a decline in violent crime, it would be the fifth consecutive year for a drop in violence reports despite a poor economy.
All four violent crime offense categories—murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault—declined nationwide. Murder was down 1.9 percent. Violent crime reports fell in all city population groups. Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses was up 18.3 percent in cities with populations under 10,000. Forcible rape reports were up in one category: cities with 500,000 to 999,999 population. Robbery, often considered a bellwether crime because reporting is fairly consistent, dropped in all city groupings.
Read the preliminary FBI Uniform Crime Report HERE.