Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Violent Crime Drops 14 Percent in US Over Two Years

WASHINGTON : Violent crime against persons dropped 14 percent in the United States over the last two years and the per capita rate of property crime decreased almost seven percent, the Justice Department reported.
The report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics was immediately hailed as a major achievement by the administration of President George W. Bush, which has been looking for a success story at home amid a shaky economic recovery.
"With violent crime stabilized at its lowest level since 1973, Americans across our nation are safer and have the freedom to live their lives without fear of becoming victims of crime," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement.
He attributed the success to the administration's tougher approach to gun crime, saying law enforcement services were "reducing the number of gun-toting criminals on the streets and keeping gun crimes down."
The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that only seven percent of all violent crimes in 2003 were committed with a firearm, a decrease from 11 percent in 1993, and that the per capita rate of non-lethal firearm violence was only 1.9 per 1,000 persons, a two-thirds reduction over 10 years.
There was an 11-percent drop in rapes and a 27-percent decrease in sexual assaults from the previous two-year period, according to the report.
Robberies were down 21 percent, aggravated assaults were down 20 percent, and simple assaults down 11 percent in 2002 and 2003.
"Thanks to the hard work of law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and corrections officers, law-abiding Americans are enjoying unprecedented safety," Ashcroft pointed out.
But the data also indicated that during 2002, the most recent year with final counts available, there were 16,200 murders and non-negligent manslaughters, which equates to the same per capita homicide rate as in 2001.
Preliminary 2003 data show the homicide rate will be unchanged, the report said.
And only 48 percent of all violent crimes were reported to police in 2003, as were 38 percent of all property crimes. (AFP)


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