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Crime in the United States, 2001

Washington, D.C. October 28, 2002
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Crime in the United States, 2001

The Nation's Crime Index increased 2.1 percent in 2001 from the 2000 number, the first year-to-year increase since 1991, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported today. However, final data released by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program in the annual publication Crime in the United States, 2001, indicated that, when looking at 5- and 10-year trends, crime was down 10.2 percent when compared to 1997 data and down 17.9 percent when compared to 1992 statistics.

The Crime Index is composed of four violent crimes (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and three property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). The Crime Index offenses plus the arson offenses form the Modified Crime Index. Index crimes serve as a measure of the level and scope of the Nation's crime experience.

In 2001, the nearly 17,000 city, county, and state law enforcement agencies that provided data to the UCR Program represented 92 percent of the total United States population as established by the Bureau of the Census. Population estimates were included for nonreporting areas. Because of the many variables that affect crime in a city, county, state, or region, data users are cautioned against comparing or ranking locales. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the various conditions affecting each law enforcement jurisdiction.

Crime Volume

  • The estimated 11.8 million Crime Index offenses in the Nation in 2001 represented a 2.1-percent increase over the 2000 estimate.
  • In 2001, estimated violent crime showed a 0.8-percent increase over the 2000 estimate. Five- and 10-year trends revealed that the estimated number of violent crime offenses decreased 12.2 percent from the 1997 estimate and 25.7 percent from the 1992 estimate.
  • Estimated property crime was up 2.3 percent from the prior year's estimate. Property crime trends for the 5- and 10-year period showed a 9.9-percent decrease from the 1997 level and a 16.7-percent decrease from the 1992 level.
  • Collectively, the Nation's cities reported an increase of 2.0 percent in the total number of crimes reported. Cities with populations of 250,000 to 499,999 recorded the largest increase of reported crime offenses at 4.1 percent. The smallest increase in volume (0.5 percent) occurred in cities with 1 million or more inhabitants. Suburban and rural counties had increases in the volume of crimes reported of 2.4 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Crime Index Rate

  • The Crime Index rate measures the total estimated volume of the seven Index offenses per 100,000 United States population. In 2001, the Crime Index rate was 4,160.5 estimated offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, 0.9 percent higher than the 2000 estimated rate. However, the rate was 15.6 percent lower than the 1997 rate and 26.5 percent lower than the 1992 rate.
  • By region, the South had a Crime Index rate of 4,760.9; the West, 4,354.9; the Midwest, 3,981.1; and the Northeast, 3,006.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The Northeast was the only region to have a decrease (1.9 percent) in the Crime Index rate when compared to the previous year's rate. The West's rate increased 3.0 percent, the Midwest's rate rose 1.1 percent, and the South's rate was up 0.3 percent when compared to rates in 2000.
  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) had a rate of 4,474.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. Cities outside the Nation's MSAs recorded a rate of 4,450.4 per 100,000 population. Rural counties reported a Crime Index rate of 1,892.4 per 100,000 in population.

Violent Crime

Data reported in 2001 indicated a 0.8-percent increase in the estimated volume of violent crime from the 2000 estimate, or an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes. However, the rate of violent crime (504.4 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants) decreased 0.4 percent from the 2000 data.

Personal weapons, such as hands, fists, and feet, were used in 31.1 percent of violent crimes. Firearms were involved in 26.2 percent of violent crimes, and knives and other cutting instruments in 14.9 percent. Other dangerous weapons were used in 27.8 percent of violent crimes reported in 2001.


Property Crime

  • Both the volume and rate per 100,000 inhabitants of all property crime offenses increased in 2001. With an estimated 10.4 million offenses, the property crime total was 2.3 percent higher than the 2000 total. The estimated property crime rate of 3,656.1 per 100,000 inhabitants was 1.0 percent higher than the previous year's rate.
  • The estimated dollar loss attributed to property crime (excluding arson) was $16.6 billion, a 5.6-percent increase from the 2000 estimate.

Hate Crime

  • Hate crime data were provided by 11,987 law enforcement agencies. The 9,726 hate crime incidents reported in 2001 involved 11,447 separate offenses, 12,016 victims, and 9,231 known offenders.
  • Of all reported single-bias incidents, 44.9 percent were motivated by racial bias, 21.6 percent were motivated by an ethnicity or national origin bias, 18.8 percent were based on a religious bias, 14.3 percent were based on a sexual-orientation bias, and 0.3 percent were based on a disability bias.
  • A review of the hate crime victims showed that 64.6 percent of reported victims were targets of a hate crime against persons; 34.7 percent of victims were targets of a hate crime against property. The remaining 0.6 percent of victims were targets of crimes against society.
  • Intimidation accounted for 55.9 percent of hate crimes directed against persons. Destruction, damage, or vandalism was reported in 83.7 percent of hate crimes against property.

Index Crime Clearances

  • Nationally, 19.6 percent of all Crime Index offenses were cleared by arrest or exceptional means in 2001. Of violent crimes, 46.2 percent were cleared, and 16.2 percent of property crimes (excluding arson) were cleared. In addition, 16.0 percent of arson offenses were cleared.
  • Of all Crime Index offenses, murder was the offense most likely to be cleared-62.4 percent. Burglary had the lowest percentage (12.7 percent) of clearances among the Crime Index offenses.
  • Of the Crime Index offenses cleared in 2001, 18.6 percent involved only juveniles (persons under the age of 18). Juvenile clearances accounted for 12.1 percent of the overall violent crime clearances and 21.1 percent of property crime clearances.


  • Law enforcement made an estimated 13.7 million arrests for criminal offenses (excluding traffic violations) in 2001, a 2.1-percent decline from the 2000 estimated total.
  • Approximately 2.2 million of the estimated arrests involved Crime Index offenses, accounting for 16.4 percent of the total arrests. A look at the two categories of Index crime showed that violent crime arrests increased 0.1 percent, and property crime arrests decreased 1.0 percent when comparing 2000 and 2001 data.
  • A review of Crime Index offense data showed that 73.8 percent of those arrested were adults. A breakdown of Index crime categories showed that 84.6 percent of arrestees for violent crime were adults as were 69.9 percent of arrestees for property crime.
  • A review of violent crime arrest data by age showed that 44.2 percent of the arrestees were persons under 25 years of age, and 15.4 percent were under age 18. Arrest data for property crimes showed that 58.3 percent of those arrested were under 25 years of age, and 30.4 percent of arrestees were under age 18.
  • An analysis of total arrests showed that 83.3 percent of arrestees were adults. Of total arrests nationwide, 45.9 percent involved persons under the age of 25, and 16.7 percent involved persons under the age of 18.
  • An analysis of arrest data by gender showed that approximately 77.5 percent of all arrestees were male; 69.5 percent of all arrestees were white. By volume, males were most often arrested for drug abuse violations; females were most often arrested for larceny-theft offenses.
  • The Nation's smallest cities, those with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, had the highest arrest rate per 100,000 population, 6,308.4. Among cities, the lowest arrest rate (4,482.5 per 100,000 inhabitants) was reported in cities with populations of 25,000 to 49,999. Rural counties had an overall arrest rate of 3,968.3 and suburban counties a rate of 3,801.5 arrests per 100,000 inhabitants.


  • An estimated 15,980 murders occurred in the United States in 2001, a 2.5-percent increase over the 2000 estimate. However, a 5-year trend reflected a 12.2-percent decline from the 1997 estimate. The rate of 5.6 murders per 100,000 in population was 1.3 percent higher than the 2000 rate of 5.5, but 17.5 percent lower than the 1997 rate.
  • Supplemental data such as the age, sex, and race of the victim and offender, the type of weapon used, and the circumstance of the incident were provided for 13,752 murders. Based on those reports, 76.6 percent of murder victims were male and 89.6 percent were adults (those aged 18 and over). By race, 49.8 percent of murder victims were white, 47.5 percent were black, and the remainder were persons of other races.
  • Approximately 42.3 percent of murder victims knew their assailants. Nearly a third of all female victims were slain by a husband or boyfriend.
  • Supplemental homicide data revealed that 90.3 percent of murder offenders were male, and 91.7 percent were over the age of 18. Of the incidents in which the race of the offender was known, 50.3 percent of the offenders were black, 47.2 percent were white, and 2.5 percent were of other races.
  • In 2001, of murders with a single victim and a single offender, 93.6 percent of black homicide victims were killed by black offenders; 85.4 percent of white homicide victims were killed by white offenders.
  • For those incidents in which the murder weapon was known, 69.5 percent were committed with a firearm. Knives or cutting instruments were employed in 14.3 percent of murders in 2001. Personal weapons, such as hands, fists, feet, etc., were used in 7.4 percent, blunt objects were used in 5.3 percent, and other dangerous weapons (e.g., poisons or explosives) were used in the remainder of the homicides.
  • Twenty-eight percent of homicide victims were involved in an argument with the offender. More than 16 percent (16.6) of murders occurred in conjunction with another felony, such as robbery or arson. Circumstances were unknown in 32.4 percent of murders.

Forcible Rape

  • There were an estimated 90,491 forcible rapes in the United States in 2001, an increase of 0.3 percent when compared to the 2000 estimate.
  • In 2001, there were 62.2 forcible rapes per 100,000 females in the Nation, which continued a downward trend. In 2000, there were an estimated 62.7 rapes per 100,000 females. A review of 5- and 10-year trend data showed that in 1997 the estimated rate was 70.3 rapes per 100,000 females; and in 1992, the estimated rate was 83.7.


  • The estimated 422,921 robberies reported in 2001 represented the first increase of this offense (up 3.7 percent) in year-to-year comparisons since 1991. The rate of robberies nationwide was 148.5 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, a 2.4-percent increase from the 2000 rate.
  • Robbery accounted for 3.6 percent of all Crime Index offenses and 29.4 percent of all violent crimes in the United States in 2001.
  • Robbery resulted in an estimated $532 million loss in 2001, or an average dollar loss of $1,258. Bank robberies had the highest average loss at $4,587 per offense.
  • During 2001, firearms were used in 42.0 percent of the reported robbery offenses, and strong-arm tactics were used in 39.0 percent of robberies. Offenders used knives or cutting instruments in 8.7 percent of robbery offenses; the remaining 10.4 percent involved other weapons.

Aggravated Assault

  • The only Crime Index offense to show a decrease (0.5 percent) in estimated volume when compared to the 2000 estimate, aggravated assaults accounted for 63.1 percent of violent crimes in 2001, or an estimated 907,219 aggravated assault offenses.
  • Five- and 10-year trends indicated that the estimated volume of aggravated assaults was down 11.3 percent from the 1997 estimate and was down 19.5 percent from the 1992 estimate.
  • The rate of aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants for the Nation was 318.5, which was 1.7 percent less than in 2000, 16.6 percent lower than in 1997, and 27.9 percent lower than in 1992.
  • Personal weapons, such as hands, fists, and feet, were used in 27.9 percent of aggravated assaults in 2001. Firearms were used in 18.3 percent of the offenses. Knives or cutting instruments were used in 17.8 percent of the incidents, and blunt objects or other dangerous weapons were used in 36.0 percent of aggravated assaults in 2001.


  • There were an estimated 2.1 million burglaries in 2001, a 2.9-percent increase from the previous year's data.
  • In 2001, burglary data showed an estimated $3.3 billion in losses in the Nation with an average loss per incident of $1,545. Most burglaries (65.2 percent) were residential in nature.
  • Forcible entry was involved in 63.3 percent of burglaries. Unlawful entry without the use of force comprised 30.2 percent of burglaries, and attempted forcible entry accounted for 6.5 percent.


  • There were more than 7.0 million estimated larceny-theft offenses in 2001, an increase of 1.5 percent from the 2000 estimate.
  • Larcenies accounted for 59.7 percent of all Crime Index offenses and 68.0 percent of all property crimes.
  • Data reported for larceny-theft offenses showed an estimated $5.2 billion in losses nationwide. The average monetary loss per offense was $730.

Motor Vehicle Theft

  • There were more than 1.2 million estimated motor vehicle thefts in 2001, a 5.7-percent increase over the 2000 estimate. This translated into a rate of 430.6 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 United States inhabitants.
  • By vehicle type, motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 336.9 per 100,000 inhabitants during 2001; trucks and buses were stolen at a rate of 86.5 per 100,000 persons.
  • Based on the more than 1.2 million estimated motor vehicles stolen in 2001, the estimated dollar value of vehicles stolen nationwide was almost $8.2 billion. Approximately 62.0 percent of that amount was recovered. The estimated average value of stolen motor vehicles was $6,646.


  • A total of 76,760 arson offenses were reported in 2001.
  • For the 68,967 arson offenses for which supplemental data were provided, the average monetary value of property loss for arson was $11,098 per incident. The average loss for structural properties was $20,128, and the average loss for mobile properties was $6,974 per incident. Other property types had an average dollar loss of $1,361 per incident.
  • Structural arson was the most frequently reported arson category in 2001 and accounted for 42.2 percent of the arson offense total. Mobile properties were the target of 32.5 percent of reported arson offenses, and other property types accounted for the remaining 25.4 percent.
  • The offense of arson had a higher percentage of juvenile involvement than any other Index offense. Of all arson offenses cleared in 2001, 45.2 percent involved only juvenile offenders.

Law Enforcement Employees

  • The 13,530 city, county, and state police agencies that reported 2001 personnel data collectively employed 659,104 officers and 279,926 civilians and provided law enforcement services to approximately 268.1 million United States inhabitants.
  • In 2001, law enforcement agencies in the Nation employed 2.5 full-time officers per 1000 inhabitants. Cities collectively employed 2.4 officers per 1,000 inhabitants. Suburban counties had a rate of 2.7 officers per 1,000 inhabitants; rural counties had 2.5 full-time officers per 1,000 population.
  • Males comprised 88.8 percent of all sworn officers, and females accounted for 62.7 percent of all civilian employees. Civilians made up 29.8 percent of the total law enforcement employee force in the Nation in 2001.

Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001

Most of the data associated with the events of September 11, 2001, were included only in a special report published in Section V of Crime in the United States, 2001. As of the date of publication, the report revealed that:

  • In all, there were 3,047 deaths as a result of the events of September 11, 2001: 2,823 homicide victims were attributed to the attacks on the World Trade Center, 184 murder victims to the Pentagon, and 40 murder victims to the airliner crash site in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
  • The vast majority, 99.7 percent, of victims were over age 18 in those cases when the age of the victim was known. Most victims were between the ages of 35 and 39.
  • All of the offenders were white males. Four offenders were under age 22. The oldest offender was in the 30-34 age group.