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Violent Crime Stats Explained - Violence Down For 2018
By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Published: 03/11/2019


I keep writing articles that cause a brain freeze; it’s like eating a snow cone too quickly.

Many of us thought that violent crime could increase based on incessant reports of violence rising in some cities.


Violent crime increased in 2015 and 2016. Homicides increased considerably.

Preliminary data from the FBI for the first six months of 2017, however, indicated a small decrease (0.8 percent) in violent crime.

For all of 2017, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased 0.2 percent, essentially flat.

A decrease going from 0.8 percent to a reduction of 0.2 percent suggested the possibility of a future upward trend.

There were similarities with 2014 where decreases for the first half of 2014 for violent crime were greatly reduced in the full report.

This preceded two years of violent crime growth.

Media reports from a variety of cities in the US indicate continued growth in homicides and violent crime.

First Six Months of 2018

But the decrease in crimes reported to the police is considerable.

Preliminary figures indicate that law enforcement agencies throughout the nation showed an overall decrease of 4.3 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first 6 months of 2018 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2017 (see below).

Crimes Not Reported

Based on the 2017 National Crime Survey, 45% of violent victimizations and 36% of property victimizations were reported to police, National Crime Survey, so violence could increase and simply hide in the unreported category, yet the 4.3 percent decrease remains considerable.

What Do The Other Crime Studies Say?

Violent crime is increasing in some (not all) cities and states throughout the US.

The number of persons who had been victims of violent crime is up 17 percent from 2015 per the National Crime Survey.

Household crime per Gallup for 2018 increased. 24% of households were victimized by violent or property crimes (excluding cybercrimes) in 2018, up from the 22% who said the same last year.

Beyond the 24 percent of households victimized by violent and property crimes, 23% of U.S. households were victimized by cybercrime in 2018.

78 percent of Americans worry about crime and violence a great deal or a fair amount, the same as health care, the number one issue-Gallup.

See Violent and Property Crimes in the US for references.


There are inconsistencies in the reports from the FBI, The National Crime Survey and Gallup since crime started rising in 2015. Predicting where violence and overall crime is going is not for the faint of heart.

But to be fair, the 4.3 percent decrease in violence for the first six months of 2018 and the tiny decrease in 2017 indicates that violence is moderating for crimes considered serious enough to be reported to law enforcement.

Violence is increasing in cities throughout the country, see USAToday.

All hope that the most recent statistics hold.

FBI Releases Preliminary Semiannual Crime Statistics for 2018

Statistics released in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report revealed overall declines in the number of violent crimes and property crimes reported for the first six months of 2018 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2017.

The report is based on information from 14,509 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six months of comparable data to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Violent Crime

Three of the offenses in the violent crime category—robbery, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, and aggravated assault—showed decreases when data from the first six months of 2018 were compared with data from the first six months of 2017.

The number of robbery offenses decreased 12.5 percent, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses fell 6.7 percent, and aggravated assault offenses were down 2.0 percent. The fourth offense in the violent crime category, rape (revised definition), increased 0.6 percent.

The overall number of violent crimes decreased in all city population groups. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of 25,000 to 49,999 reported the largest decrease, 8.2 percent. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of 1,000,000 and over and in cities with populations of 50,000 to 99,999 reported the smallest decreases, 2.8 percent.Violent crime decreased 4.5 percent in metropolitan counties and fell 3.5 percent in nonmetropolitan counties.

Violent crime decreased in three of the four regions of the nation. These crimes were down 6.5 percent in the South, 5.5 percent in the Midwest, and 4.7 percent in the Northeast. Violent crime increased 0.2 percent in the West.

Property Crime

In the property crime category, offenses dropped 7.2 percent. Burglaries were down 12.7 percent, larceny-thefts declined 6.3 percent, and motor vehicle thefts decreased 3.3 percent.

The overall number of property crimes decreased in all city population groups. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of under 10,000 inhabitants reported the largest decrease, 10.7 percent. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of 1,000,000 and over reported the smallest decrease, 2.1 percent.

Property crime decreased 11.1 percent in nonmetropolitan counties and 7.6 percent in metropolitan counties.

Property crime decreased in all four regions of the nation. Reports of these offenses reflected declines of 9.4 percent in the Midwest, 7.3 percent in the South, 6.7 percent in the Northeast, and 5.6 percent in the West.

Source: FBI

Reprinted with permission from http://www.crimeinamerica.net.

Contact us at crimeinamerica@gmail.com or for media on deadline, use leonardsipes@gmail.com.

Leonard A. Sipes, Jr has thirty-five years of experience supervising public affairs for national and state criminal justice agencies. He is the Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse and the Former Director of Information Management for the National Crime Prevention Council. He has a Post Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of the book "Success With the Media". He can be reached via email at leonardsipes@gmail.com.


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