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Big-city murders spike more than 10 percent


March 08, 2007
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Big-city murders spike more than 10 percent

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — The murder rate jumped by more than 10 percent among dozens of large U.S. cities since 2004, a study shows in the latest sign that a national lull in violent crime has ended.

Robberies also spiked during the two-year period, as did felony assaults and attacks with guns, according to the report to be released Friday by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based law enforcement think tank.

FBI data similarly has shown a rise in violent crime, if not as dramatic, since 2004. The Justice Department says crime was historically low that year.

"Two years' worth of double-digit increases in violent crime demonstrates an unmistakable change in the extent and the nature of crime in America," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the not-for-profit think tank that is paid for in part by the Justice Department, as well as corporations and private foundations.

"There are those that say this is a statistical blip, an aberration," Wexler said. "After two years, this is no aberration."

The report surveyed crime rates in 56 large U.S. metropolitan areas between 2004 and 2006, including Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; and Washington. It did not include violent crime rates in New York, the nation's largest city, which did not participate in the voluntary survey. An advance copy of the report, titled "Violent Crime in America: 24 Months of Alarming Trends," was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

The study found:

-Forty of the 56 surveyed police departments, or 71 percent, saw homicide rates increase over the two-year period. That translated into an overall 10.2 percent jump in murders. Between 2005 and 2006, the increase in murders was much lower: 2.8 percent.

-Robberies rose among the cities by 6 percent since 2005 and 12 percent since 2004. Between 75 and 80 percent of the departments surveyed reported a spike in robberies over the two-year period.

-Felony robberies dipped slightly, by 2 percent, between 2005 and 2006, but rose slightly, by 3 percent, since 2004.

-Gun assaults saw a 1 percent boost from 2005 but spiked by nearly 10 percent during the two-year period.

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On the Net:

Police Executive Research Forum: http://policeforum.mn-8.net




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