The FBI compiles statistics on the crimes that occur in the United States for each year and releases a report that lets the public know what happened in that year. Just recently, the 2016 Crime Report was released and according to the Seattle Times, “[v]iolent crime, including homicides rose for the second consecutive year in 2016.”
According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, violent crime is defined as “those offense that involve force or threat of force.” There are four offenses that the FBI considers to be violent crimes. These are “murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.” The Seattle Times reported that, nationally, there was a 4.1 percent increase in violent crimes and an 8.6 percent increase in the number of homicides. The total number of people killed in 2016 was 17,250. In 2015, violence rose by “3.9 percent and homicides . . . by 10.8 percent.” Large cities, categorized as “those with a population of more than 1 million people –saw homicides rise by 20.3 percent and all violent crime increase by 7.2 percent.” Chicago was the deadliest city in the country, with 765 homicides reported.
There are numerous reasons that are given for this increase, according to the Seattle Times, including “a profusion of handguns, poverty and social isolation; warring gangs involved in the drug trade; and police officers who are said to be questioning fewer people and making fewer arrests for fear of being criticized by superiors and civil-rights groups.”
The Times states that another theory is that the “violence has increased as police legitimacy has been questioned after the fatal police shootings of unarmed African Americans.” The “proponents of this theory maintain that in cities where police departments treat citizens with disrespect and engage in brutality, residents will eventually stop cooperating with the police, which will diminish officers' ability to solve crimes.” Though there has been an increase in crime in some of the places where a controversial officer-involved shooting took place, the violence is not isolated to these locations. Places like Las Vegas and Memphis have also seen a rise in the number of people murdered.
While these statistics are troubling, overall, the crime rate in the U.S. and the violent crime rate are both still lower than they were in the late twentieth century. In addition, the Seattle Times stated that “last year was the first time violent crime increased in consecutive years since 2005 and 2006.” In addition, in 2016, property crimes, such as burglary, decreased by 1.3 percent which is keeping in line with a ten-year trend. However, though the number of property crimes decreased, those committed still “resulted in losses estimated at $15.6 billion.”
Being charged with a crime is not a matter to take lightly. If you have been accused of a criminal offense in Washington, whether it be burglary, theft, or driving under the influence, please do not hesitate to contact attorney Steve Karimi today.