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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.