Violent crime in US drops by 4.4 per cent: FBI report

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Violent crimes in the United States decreased by 4.4 per cent last year, the FBI said on Monday, but warned "much more work" is needed to reduce murders, rapes and armed robberies.

Nearly 1.2 million violent crimes were committed across the country last year, including an estimated 14,196 murders, mostly by guns, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in its annual Crime in the United States report.

By comparison, the murder rate in 2012 was 14,827, according to the FBI.

More than 11 million people were arrested in 2013, mostly for drug-related offences, larceny-theft and driving under the influence, the report said.

There were about 1.2 million fewer arrests last year compared to 2012.

US Attorney General Eric Holder praised the reduction, but said more needs to be done to reduce violent crime in the United States.

"This is a remarkable achievement that builds upon the significant gains we've seen - in reducing rates of both crime and incarceration - since President Obama took office," he said.

"At the same time, we recognise we have much more work to do in order to ensure that every community, in every city in America, can share in the safer and brighter future we are building." According to the report, firearms were used in 69 per cent of all murders and 40 per cent of robberies in the country, where 44 states allow citizens to carry guns.

The majority of violent crimes were aggravated assaults, accounting for 62.3 per cent of all incidents, while close to 80,000 rapes were reported to law enforcement.

In 2012, the FBI said violent crimes had increased by 0.7 per cent, contrary to the five preceding years when rates consistently fell.