On Tuesday, the FBI released their 2016 crime statistics, showing a 3.4% increase in violent crime and 8.2% increase in the murder rate.
Measuring incidents of violent crime per 100,000, the overall rate of crime is the highest it has been since 2012. With rapes being committed on 29.6 per 100,000, and aggravated assaults being committed more than any time since 2010. The murder rate was 5.3 per 100K individuals, the highest this individual rate has been since 2008.
Although violent crimes are on the rise, property crimes saw sharp and historic declines, to rates not seen since 1997. The burglary rate and the larceny rate are now at their lowest ever. The motor vehicles theft rates rose slightly from 2015 to 2016, but is still historically low.
The weapons are most likely to be used to commit the murder crimes remained mostly unchanged. Handguns remained the weapon of choice, followed closely by knives and then bare fists. Only one person was murdered with the use of explosives in the year 2016 as per the FBI report.
Unsurprisingly, handguns were also the most popular method of defense in justifiable homicides committed by law enforcement and private citizens.
Despite the recent increased surge in violent crime and murder, 2016 still remained to be a relatively placid year compared to the 90s. In 1994, the murder rate was 42% higher than it is today, at 9 murders per 100k inhabitants. Similarly, 1994’s violent crime rate was approximately 45% higher at 713.6 per 100k than 2016’s rate of 386.3 per 100k.
The FBI’s Crime in the United States report is compiled using information that is voluntarily submitted by more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies on an annual basis.
In releasing the statistics, FBI director Chris Wray said in a statement, “In law enforcement, we must be accountable to the people we serve. To be accountable, we must be transparent. We are transparent when we share data and the circumstances surrounding crime rates, and incidents involving law enforcement’s use of force. Information that is accurate, accessible, and complete enhances and informs conversations about policing.”
He further added, “We must continue to be transparent to the citizens we serve. We must get beyond anecdotal evidence and collect more comprehensive data so that we have a clearer and more complete picture of crime in the United States. We need everyone on board to make this happen. The more complete the data, the better we can inform, educate, and strengthen all of our communities.”