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FBI: Violent crime, murder rose in 2015, but stats still at historic lows

This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner.

The number of murders in the United States rose nearly 11 percent last year and violent crime increased by nearly 4 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to new FBI data. But the year was still one of the safest in the past two decades.

There were 1,197,704 violent crimes committed in the U.S. in 2015 — a 3.9 percent increase from 2014, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. However, the 2015 violent crime rate was at its third lowest point since 1970, and has only been lower in 2013 and 2014.

"The report shows that there was an overall increase in violent crime last year, making clear what each of us already knows: that we still have so much work to do," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Monday in Little Rock, Ark. "Violent crime endangers lives, destroys families and paralyzes neighborhoods ... In some ways, violence affects all of us, and so all of us have a responsibility to end it."

Reported cases of murder and non-negligent homicide rose nearly 11 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Chicago, Baltimore, Houston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Washington, D.C., were largely responsible for the increase in murders from 2014-15, the FBI said.

Firearms were used in 71.5 percent of murders in 2015, and in 40.8 percent of robberies, the FBI revelead.

The Uniform Crime Report also showed that property crime decreased nationally for the 13th consecutive year, a drop of 2.6 percent in 2015.

The report collects numbers from more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies that participate voluntarily.

"While crime is at 20-year lows, the increases in reported violent crime, particularly in some of our most distressed communities, are a matter of concern," Marc Schindler, Executive Director of the Justice Policy Institute, said in a statement urging lawmakers to priorities effective investments in crime prevention.

This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner.

You can follow Kelly on Twitter at @politiCOHEN_ and Marc at @marc4justice.


Posted in JPI in the News, Criminal Justice News

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