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Expert Brief

Preliminary Analysis of 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Report

According to the FBI, the overall crime rate fell 1.4 percent in 2016, driven mostly by continued declines in property crime. The murder rate rose by 7.9 percent nationally.

Published: September 25, 2017

[Down­load the PDF here.]

The FBI released its final analysis of Crime in 2016,” as part of the Uniform Crime Report­ing program. Below are some quick facts, based on a prelim­in­ary review of the data:

  • Over­all Crime: The over­all crime rate fell 1.4 percent in 2016, driven mostly by contin­ued declines in prop­erty crime. It marks the 15th consec­ut­ive year in which crime has declined.
  • Prop­erty Crime: The prop­erty crime rate fell by 2 percent, driven by drops in larcen­ies and burg­lar­ies. Rates of these offenses decreased by 2.2 and 5.2 percent, respect­ively.
  • Murder: Accord­ing to the FBI, murder rates rose by 7.9 percent nation­ally in 2016. This is consist­ent with the Bren­nan Center’s April report, which used partial-year data to estim­ate that the murder rate would rise by 7.8 percent nation­ally. The Center’s June report found that murders in the 30 largest cities were estim­ated to increase by 14.5 percent in 2016. Those results are very similar to the FBI data, which show a 14.8 percent increase in these same cities.
    • Despite compris­ing less than 1 percent of the total popu­la­tion, Chicago alone accoun­ted for more than 20 percent of the nation­wide murder increase.
    • The 11 largest cities — those with popu­la­tions over 1 million — saw a 20 percent murder increase and a 7.2 percent viol­ent crime increase. Nonmet­ro­pol­itan areas saw the number of murders decline, by 6.7 percent, and the number of viol­ent crimes increase slightly, by 1.6 percent.
    • Gun viol­ence accoun­ted for almost all the increase in murder — 93 percent. 
  • Viol­ent Crime: The viol­ent crime rate rose by 3.3 percent, mostly attrib­ut­able to rises in aggrav­ated assault. The Center’s April report estim­ated a 6.3 percent increase.

Earlier this month, the Bren­nan Center released a prelim­in­ary study of 2017 crime data from the 30 largest cities. It found all meas­ures of crime are estim­ated to decrease slightly this year: the crime rate down by 1.8 percent, viol­ent crime rate down by 0.6 percent, and murder rate down by 2.5 percent.