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FBI reports decrease in violent crime nationwide

According to recent data released by the FBI, violent crimes have decreased in the first half of 2011 6.4 percent from the same time period last year. Property crimes have also apparently fallen, though only 3.7 percent, since last year. The decrease in crime is the latest continuation of a downward trend beginning around five years ago.

Violent crimes include offenses such as murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes encompass offenses like burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Violent crimes are typically what folks refer to when they think of neighborhood safety, or unsafety, as the case may be.

Violent crime reportedly decreased in every region of the United States, with the greatest decreases occurring in the Midwest, which saw a 9.7 percent drop in violent crime, followed by the West, which saw a 6.6 percent decrease, then by the South, which saw a 5.8 percent decrease. The Northeast region saw the least improvement in violent crime rates, marking only a 3.6 percent decrease.

Broken down by crime, the decreases between January and June 30th look like this:

Murder decreased by 5.7 percent

Rape decreased by 5.1 percent

Robbery decreased by 7.7 percent

Assault decreased by 5.9 percent

According to experts, the downward trend is largely due to the fact that governments and law enforcement agencies are investing more in crime prevention. Increased use of technology such as crime pattern data and a more proactive approach to law enforcement are also thought to be behind the drop in crime.

Source: CBS News, "Analysts: Better policing behind cut in crime," Bob Orr, December 20, 2011.

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