U.S. sees biggest single-year jump in violent crime in 25 years
The U.S. in 2016 experienced the greatest single-year jump in violent crime in 25 years, but crime remains at historically low levels, according to FBI data released Monday.
The yearly Crime in the United States report says that violent crime — defined by the FBI as rape, robbery, aggravated assault, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter — was up 3.4% nationwide. It was the second consecutive year that the figure rose. In 2015, violent crime went up 3.3%, the report says.
There were 1,248,185 violent crimes in 2016 nationwide, of which aggravated assault accounted for about 64%. Homicide, though up 7.9%, was still 48% below its peak in 1980.
The rate of violent crime in 2016 was 0.5% lower than it was in 2012 and 18% lower than in 2007.
Overall crime fell 1.4%, a drop the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law attributes to the decrease in property crimes.
The 30 largest cities experienced a 14.8% jump in murders. Chicago, which had 781 murders in 2016, accounted for 20% of that increase, despite the city comprising less than 1% of the total population, the Brennan Center said.
Cops investigated 335 murders in New York in 2016, about 5% fewer than the previous year.
Glenn Martin, a leading criminal justice reform advocate, encouraged Americans to put the data into perspective.
“Sadly, the increase stems largely from rises in a few neighborhoods in a handful of major cities plagued with tragic pockets of violence,” he said.
The FBI said its report “reaffirms that the worrying violent crime increase that began in 2015 after many years of decline was not an isolated incident.”
“For the sake of all Americans, we must confront and turn back the rising tide of violent crime. And we must do it together,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. In his inauguration speech, President Trump famously vowed to turn around the “American carnage.”
Martin said, “It’s important to remember that overall, the vast majority of this country is safe, and equally important not to let the inevitable fearmongering from the Jeff Sessions, the Donald Trumps, and all the other enemies of progress paint these problems as a crime wave epidemic.”