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Preliminary Crime Statistics for January–June 2003

Washington, D.C. December 15, 2003
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Washington, D.C. — The Nation experienced a 3.1-percent decrease in violent crime and an 0.8-percent reduction in property crime during the first 6 months of 2003 compared to the same period in 2002, according to the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report released today.

The preliminary semiannual report is based on information from law enforcement agencies that contributed 3–6 comparable months of data to the FBI during January–June 2002 and 2003. A total of 9,908 agencies met the criteria to be included in the current report.

Violent Crime

When data for January–June 2003 were compared to data reported for the corresponding months in 2002, homicide was the only violent crime to show an increase. Nationwide, murders increased 1.1 percent. Aggravated assaults declined 4.4 percent, and forcible rapes decreased
4.0 percent. Robberies showed a 0.5-percent decline.

Collectively, the Nation’s largest cities, those with more than 250,000 inhabitants, had decreases in violent crime of slightly more than 4 percent when compared to data reported for January–June 2002. The largest decline, however, occurred in rural counties, which revealed a 5.7-percent drop during January–June 2003. Suburban counties showed a 1.1-percent decline.

Violent crime decreased in all regions of the United States for the period. The decline was led by a 6.2-percent decrease in the Midwest and a 3.2-percent decrease in the South.

Despite the general decrease in violent crime, three of the four regions showed increases in homicide when data from January through June 2003 were compared to those from the same months in the prior year. The greatest increase occurred in the Northeast, which had a 4.3-percent rise in murder. The Midwest, with 1.9 percent fewer murders, was the only region to show a decline in all of the violent crime categories.

Property Crime

The Uniform Crime Reporting Program assesses the level of property crime occurring in the Nation by tracking the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. During the first 6 months of 2003, burglary declined 1.0 percent, and larceny-theft dropped 1.1 percent; motor vehicle theft, however, increased 0.9 percent compared to data from January–June 2002.

January–June 2003 property crime data for the Nation’s cities showed little change from the property crime data submitted for the corresponding months in 2002. Property crime in rural counties fell 2.5 percent; suburban counties showed a 0.5-percent drop.

The Western States experienced a 7.2-percent increase in motor vehicle theft during the first half of 2003 when compared to data from the corresponding period in 2002. All other regions reflected decreases in that offense. The Northeastern States showed a 4.2-percent drop in motor vehicle theft during January–June 2003. The Southern and Midwestern States indicated decreases of 2.1 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

Arson, which is not included in the property crime total, declined 10.0 percent when comparing data from the two periods. All four regions of the country had fewer arsons. The Northeast saw a decline of 11.8 percent, the South showed a decrease of 11.1 percent, the West indicated a 9.0-percent drop, and the Midwest had an 8.6-percent decrease in arson offenses.