Crime Problem in the United States
The crime rates in the United States have changed over time, witnessing a rise between the 1970s and early 1990s, and then declining significantly. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime statistics, the United States currently rates 94th among all countries on the number of intentional homicide victims per 100,000 inhabitants from 1990 to 2016 (International homicide victims, n.d.). According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics, a decline in the rates of both violent and property crime has been observed during the last decade.
The statistics on specific crimes in the United States are indexed in the annual Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) published by the FBI. The UCR Program was established in the 1930s to access and monitor the nature and type of crime in the country. It is described as “a nationwide, cooperative statistical effort of nearly 18,000 city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting data on crimes brought to their attention” (Summary of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, n.d., para. 1). The most recent report was published at the end of 2019 and showed a decline in both violent and property crime between 2018 and 2019. It included information on offenses known to law enforcement, persons arrested, and police employee data, as well as additional publications on specific types of crime.
The UCR divides criminal offenses indexed in its reports into two major groups: violent crimes and property crimes. Violent crime is composed of four offences that involve force or threat of force: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault (Violent crime, 2019). Property crime includes offenses whose object is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims: burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson (Property crime, 2019). Both violent and property crimes are considered serious offenses and tend to be reported more reliably than others, with the reports taken directly by the police.
The 2019 UCR provides information on both violent and property crime rates in comparison with previous estimates. According to its data, 1,203,808 violent crimes occurred nationwide in 2019, which is 0,5% less than in 2018 (Violent crime, 2019). An estimated 377.7 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants was reported, with the rate dropping by 1% compared to the 2018 data, and by 9.3% compared to the 2010 estimate (Violent crime, 2019). Aggravated assaults accounted for 68.2% of violent crimes reported to law enforcement, robbery offenses for 22.3%, and murder cases for 1.4% (Violent crime, 2019). Based on the UCR data, it can be concluded that violent crime rates are slowly dropping, and that aggravated assault is the most wide-spread type of offense.
According to the 2019 report, there were an estimated 6,925,677 property crime offenses in the USA in 2019, with the two-year trend showing a 4.1% decline. Compared to the 2010 data, a 24% decline was reported (Property crime, 2019). The rate of property crime was estimated at 2,109 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants, which showed a 4.5% decrease compared with the 2018 estimate and a 28.4% decrease compared to the 2010 estimate (Property crime, 2019). Larceny-theft accounted for 73.4% of all property crimes, burglary for 16.1%, and motor vehicle theft for 10.4% (Property crime, 2019). Based on the UCR data, it can be concluded that the rates of property crimes have dropped significantly over the last decade.
Overall, as reported by the FBI, the last year’s crime rates are consistent with the decades-long downward trend in both violent and property crimes. Property crimes are showing a more pronounced downward tendency, while violent crime rates are decreasing more slowly. The most wide-spread types of crimes are aggravated assault and theft. The analysis of the statistics and national crime tendencies can help in the development of new strategies of crime control and prevention.
International homicide victims. (n.d.). Web.
Property crime. (2019). Web.
Summary of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. (n.d.). Web.
Violent crime. (2019). Web.