US violent crime rate fell in 2017: FBI data

Policemen standing guard outside the United Nations building in New York City, on Sept 24, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States saw a 0.2 per cent fall in overall violent crime in 2017, returning to a long-term trend of decline after two years of increases, according to data published by the FBI on Monday(Sept 24).

The bureau recorded almost 1.25 million cases of violent crime in 2017, which included nearly 18,000 homicides, or a murder rate of 5.3 for every 100,000 inhabitants in its report, "Crime in the United States, 2017".

That represents a drop from 6.3 per 100,000 people in 1998, but is still higher than the 2014 level of 4.4, the report added.

The information was reported to the FBI by more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies across the country.

The leap in violence in 2015 was a result of a surge in seven major US cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Washington.

In comparison, Brazil saw 30 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016, Russia had 11, while France, Italy and Germany had one, according to World Bank figures.

Guns were used in three quarters of all the murders, the FBI said.

While violent crime fell overall, assaults rose one per cent and rape rose from 2.5 to 3 percent, according to the updated definition used by the FBI.

The report also showed there were 7.7 million property crimes (which includes burglaries, robberies, arson and so on), a drop of three per cent compared to 2016.

John Pfaff, a criminal justice professor at Fordham University, said it represented a "impressive decline", down 30 per cent since 1998 and 40 per cent since peaking in 1991.

Property crimes resulted in estimated losses of US$15.3 billion.

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