According to FBI reports, property crimes were down in the first half of 2015 over the prior year, but violent crimes increased in three of the United States’ four regions — with medium-sized cities taking the biggest hit. Violent crimes saw increases of 1.4 percent in the Midwest, 1.6 percent in the South and 5.6 percent in the West. In the Northeast, though, violent crimes dropped by 3.2 percent.
The FBI compiled the new numbers in the FBI reports based on data from thousands of law enforcement agencies.
In the country as a whole, rapes were up by 9.6 percent, and murders increased by more than 6 percent. Medium-sized cities were hit hardest by the increase — violent crimes were up by more than 5 percent in cities with 250,000 to 499,999 inhabitants. Violent crime decreased slightly in both smaller and larger cities for the period.
FBI Reports: Burglaries, Larcenies Down
Property crimes showed the opposite trend from violent crimes during the first six months of 2015, according to the FBI reports. Larcenies were down more than 3 percent, while burglaries dropped by nearly 10 percent. In the property crime category, the only increase was in thefts of motor vehicles, up by 1 percent.
Every city population group experienced a decrease in property crimes overall. The biggest drop — more than 7 percent — was for small cities with fewer than 10,000 residents. Of the four regions in the country, only the West had an increase in property crimes: 2.4 percent.
Most Dangerous Cities?
Another recent report provides additional details about the increase in violent crime in medium-sized cities. According to the NeighborhoodScout annual ranking of the nation’s most dangerous cities, East St. Louis, Illinois, and Camden, New Jersey, ranked first and second in the number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents.
The ranking considers cities with populations over 25,000 and violent crimes including rape, murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery. The survey uses FBI reports data to calculate the rankings.
While the list includes some large cities like Miami and Washington, D.C., other major cities — notably Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles — didn’t break the top 100 in violent crimes. Both the recent numbers in the FBI reports and the NeighborhoodScout rankings are based on relatively short time periods — six months and one year, respectively. Time will tell whether the increase in violent crime in mid-sized cities is simply a blip or a long-term trend that warrants further analysis.