The increase in violent crime and the drop in crime against property are confirmed in the USA

The publication of annual crime data in the USA confirms the increase in violent crime last yeara development which was reported in this blog thanks to semester-based data. Specifically, the data gathered by the FBI shows an increase of 3.9% compared with 2014 in this type of crime, whereas crime against property drops by 2.6%. The evolution of the two types of crimes over recent years shows a downward trend; although the evolution of violent crime has been more irregular than crime against property, and while the last increase in violent crime dates back to 2012, the last rise in crime against property dates back to 2002.

An increase of 10.8% in the number of homicides particularly stands out in the sphere of violent crime. But some criminologists and police agents state that this cannot be regarded as an increase at a national level for two reasons. On the one hand, because detailed analysis of the territorial distribution of deaths shows that the increase is centred on certain cities and, more specifically, on certain neighbourhoods of certain cities. On the other hand, the rate of 4.9 deaths for every 100.000 inhabitants is still very different from the 7.4 rate of 1996, and is the sixth lowest of the last twenty years [1].

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In the USA there are 18,439 security agencies which satisfy the prerequisites necessary for their data to be taken into consideration in the Crime Reporting Program. However, in 2015, only 16,643 police agencies at municipal, county, university, and state, tribal and federal level provided the FBI with criminal data. In order to facilitate data corresponding to the whole country, the FBI therefore estimates the data of law-enforcement agencies who provide no information.

The data gathered also refers to the personnel of the Police forces, 13,160 of which were informed about by the FBI. The personnel of these agencies provide a service for 273 of the 321 million inhabitants of the country, and on 31 October 2015 there were 635,785 police agents and a further 277,380 plain-clothes agents, which amounts to 3.3 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.

All of the data gathered can be downloaded from the webpage of the FBI.

[1] Based on the publication of the FBI data, The New York Times has published several articles, analytical features and editorials to help to interpret it, and the following are particularly noteworthy:

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