Diversity & Inclusion

Violent Crimes Down Six Percent Nationwide in 2010

The number of violent crimes declined 6% nationwide in 2010 from a year earlier, according to an annual report released week by the FBI. Murder and manslaughter offenses fell 4.2% in 2010, reported rapes declined 5%, and aggravated assaults fell 4.1% from 2009. The number of robberies fell by 10%, and the number of property crimes fell by 2.7%.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program is a nationwide, cooperative statistical effort of more than 18,000 city, county, and state law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting data on crime brought to their attention. During 2010, law enforcement agencies active in the UCR Program represented 97.4% of the total population. The coverage amounted to 98.4% of the U.S. population in Metropolitan Statistical Areas, 92.3% of the population in cities outside metropolitan areas, and 92.7% in non-metropolitan counties.

Violent Crimes. Violent crime is comprised of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Nationwide, there were an estimated 1,246,248 violent crimes in 2010, a decrease of 6% from the 2009 estimate. There were an estimated 403.6 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. An estimated 14,748 persons were murdered in the United States last year, representing a 4.2% decrease from 2009. Law enforcement reported 665 justifiable homicides in 2010, of which law enforcement officers justifiably killed 387 felons and private citizens justifiably killed 387 people during the commission of a crime. Concerning the known circumstances surrounding murders, 41.8% of victims were murdered during arguments (including romantic triangles) in 2010. Felony circumstances (rape, robbery, burglary, etc.) accounted for 23.1% of murders. Of the homicides for which the FBI received weapons data, most (67.5%) involved the use of firearms. Handguns comprised 68.5% of all firearms used in murders and non-negligent manslaughters in 2010.

In 2010, the estimated number of forcible rapes (84,767) — the lowest figure in the last 22 years — decreased 5% from the 2009 estimate. The rate of forcible rapes in 2010 was estimated at 54.2 offenses per 100,000 female inhabitants. Rapes by force comprised 93% of the reported rape offenses, and attempts or assaults to commit rape accounted for 7% of all reported rapes in 2010.

In 2010, the estimated robbery total (367,832) decreased 10% from the 2009 estimate and 18.1% from the 2006 estimate. Losses estimated at $456 million were attributed to robberies in 2010, and the average dollar loss per robbery offense was $1,239. The highest average dollar loss was for banks, which lost $4,410 per offense. Firearms were used in 41.4% of robberies for which the FBI received additional information in 2010. Strong-arm tactics were used in 42% of the total number of robberies, knifes and cutting instruments were used in 7.9% of the robberies, and other dangerous weapons were used in 8.8% of robberies in 2010.

In 2010, there were an estimated 778,901 aggravated assaults nationwide. The estimated number of aggravated assaults in 2010 declined 4.1% and 14.3%, respectively, when compared with estimates for 2009 and 2001. The estimated rate of aggravated assaults was 252.3 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. A 10-year comparison of data from 2001 and 2010 showed that the rate of aggravated assaults in 2010 dropped 20.8%. Of the aggravated assault offenses in 2010 for which law enforcement agencies provided expanded data, 27.4% were committed with hands, fists, and feet; 20.6% were committed with firearms; and 19% were committed with knives or cutting instruments. The remaining 33.1% of aggravated assaults were committed with other weapons.

Property Crimes. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. In 2010, law enforcement agencies reported an estimated 9,082,887 property crimes, representing an overall 2.7% decrease from 2008. Larceny-theft accounted for 68.1% of all property crimes in 2010, while burglary accounted for 23.8% and motor vehicle theft for 8.1%. An estimated $15.7 billion in losses resulted from property crimes last year. The number of burglaries in 2010 (2,159,878) fell 2%, and burglary accounted for 23.8% of the estimated number of property crimes committed last year. Of all burglaries, 60.5% involved forcible entry, 33.2% were unlawful entries (without force), and the remainder (6.3%) were forcible entry attempts. Victims of burglaries nationally suffered an estimated $4.6 billion in lost property in 2010, and burglaries of residential properties accounted for 73.9% of all burglary offenses.

There were an estimated 6,185,867 larceny-thefts nationwide in 2010, representing a 2.4% decrease from 2009. Larceny-thefts accounted for an estimated 68.1% of property crimes in 2010. The average value of property taken during larceny-thefts was $988 per offense, and thefts of motor vehicle parts, accessories, and contents made up the largest portion of reported larcenies (26%). When the average value of property taken during larceny-thefts was applied to the estimated number of larceny-thefts, the loss to victims nationally was nearly $6.1 billion in 2010.

There were an estimated 737,142 thefts of motor vehicles in 2010, representing a 7.4% decline from 2009. More than $4.5 billion was lost because of motor vehicle thefts last year. The average dollar loss per stolen vehicle was $6,152.

Nationally, 56,825 arson offenses were reported, representing a 7.6% decrease from 2009. Arsons involving structures (residential, storage, public, etc.) accounted for 45.5% of the total number of arson offenses, while arsons involving mobile property accounted for 26%. Other types of property (such as crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for 28.5% of reported arsons.
Arrests. Law enforcement agencies nationwide made an estimated 13,120,947 arrests (excluding traffic violations) in 2010. The most frequent arrests in 2010 were for drug abuse violations — an estimated 1,638,846 arrests — followed by an estimated 1,412,223 arrests for driving under the influence and an estimated 1,271,410 arrests for larceny-theft offenses. Two-year arrest trends showed violent
crime arrests declined 5.3% when compared with 2009 arrests, while property crime arrests decreased 4.7% when compared with 2009 arrests.

Arrests of juveniles for all offenses decreased 9.7% in 2010 when compared with the 2009 number. Arrests of adults declined 3.7%. Nearly 75% of the persons arrested in the country during 2010 were males. They accounted for 80.5% of persons arrested for violent crime and 62.4% of persons arrested for property crime. In 2010, 69.4% of all persons arrested were white, 28% were black, and the remaining 2.6% were of other races.

Offenses cleared. In 2010, 47.2% of all violent crimes and 18.3% of property crimes nationwide were cleared by arrest or exceptional means. Of the violent crimes, murder had the highest percentage (64.8%) of offenses cleared. Of the property crimes, larceny-theft was the offense most often cleared with 21.1% cleared by arrest or exceptional means. Nationwide in 2010, 34.3% of arson offenses cleared by arrest or exceptional means involved juveniles, the highest percentage of all offense clearances involving juveniles.

The report, “Crime in the United States, 2010,” may be viewed at www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010.