Section II - Offenses Reported

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SECTION II

OFFENSES REPORTED 9

Violent Crime

Trend

Definition

Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. According to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program's definition, violent crimes involve force or threat of force.

Rate per 100,000 Year Number of offenses inhabitants 2002 1,423,677 494.4 2003 1,381,259 475.0 Percent change -3.0 -3.9 crime. (Based on Table 1, national estimates.) The violent crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants (475.0) declined 3.9 percent in 2003 when compared to the previous year's rate. A comparison between violent crime rates in 2003 and 1999 (a five-year trend) disclosed a 9.2-percent drop in the rate. In 2003, there was a 33.4-percent drop in the violent crime rate per 100,000 persons in comparison to figures from 1994 (a 10-year trend). (See Table 1, national estimates.)

Regional Offense

Trends and Rates

The UCR Program separates the United States into four regions: the Northeast, the Midwest, the South, and the West. A map of the United States outlining the regions is included in Appendix III of this book. A breakdown of offense trends and rates by region showed the following:

The Northeast

The Northeast accounted for 18.7 percent of the U.S. population in 2003. An estimated 15.8 percent of the Nation's violent crime occurred in this region. The estimated 218,106 violent crimes in the Northeast represented a 3.5-percent decline from the 2002 estimate. The violent crime rate in this region was 400.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. This 2003 figure represented a 3.9-percent drop when compared to the

National Volume, Trends, and Rates

An estimated 1,381,259 violent crimes were committed in the Nation in 2003. This represented a decrease of 3.0 percent from the violent crime figure from 2002. An analysis of 5- and 10-year trend data showed that the 2003 volume fell 3.1 percent when compared to violent crime data from 1999, and it dropped 25.6 percent from the estimate 10 years ago in 1994. (See Table 1, national estimates.) As in previous years, in 2003, aggravated assault was the offense that made up the largest portion of violent crime at 62.1 percent. Robbery accounted for 29.9 percent of violent crime, and forcible rape made up 6.8 percent. Murder was the least often committed violent offense, comprising an estimated 1.2 percent of violent

Figure 2.2

Violent Crime

Percent Change from 1999

OFFENSES REPORTED 11 figure from the previous year. Within the violent crime category, the number of murders rose 4.6 percent and that of robbery increased by 0.3 percent over figures from the previous year. The number of forcible rapes and aggravated assaults declined 2.6 percent and 6.0 percent, respectively. (See Tables 3 and 4, regional estimates.)

The Midwest

In 2003, 18.8 percent of the Nation's violent crime occurred in the Midwest, which was home to 22.5 percent of the Nation's population. The Midwest experienced an estimated 259,925 violent crimes, which is a 5.2-percent decline when compared to the 2002 figure. The violent crime rate in 2003 was 397.4 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, a 5.7-percent decrease from the previous year's rate. All offenses within the violent crime category showed a decrease in volume in 2003; robbery presented the largest decline, 5.7 percent, followed closely by aggravated assault with a 5.4-percent drop. Forcible rape offenses fell 3.2 percent, and those of murder decreased 2.7 percent. (See Tables 3 and 4, regional estimates.)

The South

The South, with an estimated 35.9 percent of the 2003 population, was the region in which the most people lived.

It contributed the largest percent of the Nation's violent crime, 41.6. An estimated 574,226 violent crimes occurred in the South in 2003, a 2.6-percent decline in volume when compared to the 2002 estimate. In 2003, the violent crime rate was an estimated 549.3 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, a 3.9-percent drop compared to the previous year's figure. Within the violent crime category, murder presented the lone rise in volume, up 3.0 percent from 2002 data. A comparison of 2002 and 2003 data showed the South experienced a 3.6 percent decrease in aggravated assault, a 1.6-percent decline in forcible rape, and a 0.9-percent decrease in robbery. (See Tables 3 and 4, regional estimates.)

The West

The West had 22.9 percent of the U.S. population in 2003, and 23.8 percent of violent crime occurred there. The West experienced an estimated 329,002 violent crimes, which represented a 1.4-percent decline when compared to the 2002 estimate. The violent crime rate was an estimated 495.0 violent offenses per 100,000 individuals, down 2.8 percent from the figure calculated in the previous year. Within the violent crime category, murder presented the only rise in volume, up 1.4 percent between 2002 and 2003. Robbery decreased by 1.6 percent. Aggravated assault and forcible rape offenses each declined from the previous year's calculations, 1.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. (See Tables 3 and 4, regional estimates.)

Community Types

The UCR Program aggregates data by three community types: Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), cities outside metropolitan areas, and nonmetropolitan counties. MSAs are areas that include a principal city or urbanized area with at least 50,000 inhabitants and the county that contains the principal city and other adjacent counties that have, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, a high degree of economic and social integration with the principal city and county as measured through commuting. In 2003, an estimated 82.8 percent of the U.S. population lived in an MSA. An estimated 1,244,205 violent crime offenses were committed in this community type. This figure represented 90.1 percent of the estimated total of violent crime. MSAs experienced a violent crime rate of 516.8 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2003. (Based on Table 2, community type estimates.) Almost 7 percent (6.8) of the Nation's population lived in cities outside MSAs (mostly incorporated areas) in 2003. Violent crimes in this community type accounted for 5.5 percent of the estimated total number of violent offenses. In 2003, an estimated 76,043 violent crimes were committed in cities outside MSAs, which translated to a rate of 385.0 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. (Based on Table 2, community type estimates.) In 2003, an estimated 10.4 percent of the U.S. population resided in nonmetropolitan counties, which are composed of unincorporated areas. There were an estimated 61,011 violent crimes in these counties, representing 4.4 percent of the violent crime total in the Nation. Nonmetropolitan counties had a violent crime rate of 201.5 violent offenses per 100,000 persons. (Based on Table 2, community type estimates.)

Population Groups:

Trends and Rates

The UCR Program organizes the agencies that contribute data by population groups. There are 6 population groups that contain cities aggregated by size, as well as a group for metropolitan coun

Table 2.1

Violent Crime by Month

Percent Distribution, 1999-2003

Month 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

January 8.2 7.9 7.7 7.9 7.8 February 7.1 7.2 6.7 6.8 6.5 March 7.9 8.1 7.9 7.9 8.2 April 8.1 8.1 8.1 8.1 8.3 May 8.8 8.9 8.7 8.7 8.9 June 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.8 July 9.3 9.3 9.3 9.3 9.2 August 9.1 9.1 8.9 9.3 9.2 September 8.4 8.6 8.7 9.2 8.6 October 8.6 8.7 9.0 8.6 8.8 November 8.0 7.8 8.2 7.7 7.9 December 8.0 7.7 8.1 7.7 7.7

12 CRIME IN THE UNITED STATES ties and one for nonmetropolitan counties. (Appendix III of this book further delineates UCR area definitions.) Collectively, the Nation's cities reported a 3.9-percent drop in violent crime in 2003 when compared to the previous year's data. (See Table 12.) All agencies labeled city, jointly experienced a violent crime rate of 597.0 per 100,000 inhabitants. (See Table 16.) Cities with 250,000 or more in population reported a 5.8-percent drop in violent crime. Within this population group comprised of the largest U.S. cities, the subcategory of cities with 1 million and over in population had the largest decline in violent crime, 6.5 percent. Violent crime decreased 3.7 percent in non-metropolitan counties and 1.0 percent in metropolitan counties. (See Table 12.) The population group with the largest U.S. cities, those with more than 250,000 in population, reported a violent crime rate of 967.5 violent offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. Within this group, the highest violent crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 980.0, was reported by law enforcement in those cities with 1 million or more in population. The lowest violent crime rate for city population groups (321.3 per 100,000 persons) was in cities with a population range of 10,000 to 24,999. Metropolitan counties experienced a violent crime rate of 345.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, and nonmetropolitan counties recorded a rate of 219.5 per 100,000 persons. (See Table 16.) In 2003, the percentage of murders in the Nation's largest cities, those with 250,000 or more inhabitants, remained virtually unchanged from the 2002 number (+0.1 percent). However, within this population group, law enforcement in cities within the population subcategory of 500,000 to 999,999 inhabitants reported the largest decline in the occurrence of murder, 1.0 percent. Conversely, the Nation's smallest cities, those with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, experienced the largest increase in murder, 20.0 percent. (See Table 12.)

Weapons Distribution

The UCR Program collects information about the weapons used in the violent crimes murder, robbery, and aggravated assault. In 2003, most of these violent crimes, 30.7 percent, were committed with personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.). Firearms were the weapon of choice in 26.9 percent of these offenses. Knives or cutting instruments accounted for 15.2...

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