Today the Federal Bureau of Investigation released its annual report on crime in America. In 2014, the FBI says, most crime rates continued to fall:
• The overall violent crime rate declined slightly, dropping 1 percent from the previous year. The rate was 9.6 percent lower than five years before and 22.1 percent lower than 10 years before.
• The rate for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was 1.2 percent lower than one year earlier, 6.1 percent lower than five years earlier, and 20.8 percent lower than 10 years earlier.
• The rates for robbery, burglary, larceny, and car theft all continued to decline as well. Motor vehicle thefts showed the biggest reduction from 10 years ago, with the rate sliding 48.1 percent.
• The FBI's talliers recently revised their definition of rape, making cross-year comparisons difficult. But using the older definition, the crime increased slightly from the previous year, with the rate increasing by 1.6 percent. It was still 4.7 percent lower than five years earlier and 17.2 percent lower than 10 years earlier.
• The one other major crime rate that increased from 2013 to 2014 was aggravated assault, which went up 1.2 percent. It was still lower than five years earlier (an 8 percent drop) and 10 years earlier (20.1 percent).
These are, I repeat, the numbers for 2014, not 2015. Many American cities have seen spikes in violent crime this year, and it is possible that the country as a whole will wind up reporting such an increase as well. (The most complete accounting of the year in homicide that I've seen so far is this piece in FiveThirtyEight. It's definitely worth a look, though it has some significant gaps.) But as of December, despite some small but still unwelcome bumps in the rape and aggravated assault rates, crime overall was continuing its long decline.
Bonus charts: The last five years in violent crime and property crime: