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NATION'S VIOLENT CRIME RATE FELL ALMOST 15 PERCENT LAST YEAR -- PROPERTY CRIME DOWN 10 PERCENT


June 11, 2001
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NATION'S VIOLENT CRIME RATE FELL ALMOST 15 PERCENT LAST YEAR -- PROPERTY CRIME DOWN 10 PERCENT

NATION'S VIOLENT CRIME RATE FELL ALMOST 15 PERCENT LAST YEAR -- PROPERTY CRIME DOWN 10 PERCENT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation's violent crime rate fell almost 15 percent last year in the largest one-year decline ever recorded by the Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey. Americans experienced about 1 million fewer violent crimes in 2000 than they did in 1999. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which conducts the survey, also announced that property crime, which accounts for three-fourths of all criminal offenses, fell by 10 percent during 2000.

The violent and property crime victimization rates were at their lowest rates since the survey began in 1973, BJS noted. The 2000 victimization level continues a downward trend in the number of violent victimizations that began in 1994.

Almost every demographic group identified in the survey--including males, females, whites, blacks, Hispanics, non-Hispanics and 12-to-24-year-olds experienced less violent crime in 2000 than they did during 1999, the survey showed. The largest rate decreases between 1993 and 2000 were for Hispanics (down an average 5.7 percent per year) and males (down an average annual 4.6 per cent).

Most violent crime victims (67 percent) did not face an armed offender during 2000. Rape and sexual assault victims were the least likely to be threatened or harmed by an armed offender (6 percent), while 55 percent of the robberies were carried out with a weapon, including 26 percent with a firearm, 14 percent with a knife and 12 percent with another type of weapon. In 3 percent of the victimization incidents the type of weapon was not ascertained.

Forty-eight percent of the violent victimizations and 36 percent of the property crimes were reported to the police. Historically, victims most commonly do not report crime because they feel the offense was a private or personal matter or the offender was unsuccessful or the stolen property was recovered.

The declines in the per capita rates of selected offenses from 1993 through 2000 were as follows:

Completed violence -40.0%
Completed rape -60.0
Sexual assault -37.5
Completed robbery -39.5
Aggravated assault -52.5
Completed household burglary -43.0
Completed motor vehicle theft -52.4
Attempted motor vehicle theft -59.1
Theft of $250 or more -29.6

Western and Midwestern residents were violence victims at rates that were higher than for Northeastern and Southern residents.

The Bureau of the Census interviewed almost 160,000 people 12 years old and older in a nationally representative sample for the BJS victimization survey which the Justice Department has conducted annually since 1973.

The report, "Criminal Victimization 2000, Changes 1993-2000" (NCJ-187007), was written by BJS statistician Callie Marie Rennison. Media representatives may access it prior to its publication. Send an e-mail to askbjs@ojp.usdoj.gov and include "Release for June 13, 2001" in the subject line. Single copies may be obtained from the BJS clearinghouse number: 1-800-732-3277. Fax order for mail delivery to 410/792-4358. After the release date this report will be available at:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/cv00.htm. The BJS Internet site is: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/

Additional criminal justice materials can be obtained from the Office of Justice Programs homepage at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

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After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354




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