Based upon its annual national crime victimization surveys, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported this month that in 2005 the nation’s violent crime rate fell to the lowest point in the surveys’ 32-year history, down 58% since 1993. For the survey’s purposes, “violent crime” consists of rape, robbery, and aggravated and simple assaults.
BJS also found that the firearm-related violent crime rate, which had been 1.9 per 1,000 population in 2002 and 2003, and 1.4 in 2004, was 2.0 in 2005. Anti-gunners may try to characterize the 2004-2005 trend as evidence of a sharp upturn in gun crime. However, the oddly low 2004 figure may have been an aberration, the author of the report, Dr. Shannon M. Catalano, cautioned.
The BJS’s findings, based upon telephone interviews with randomly selected respondents, are on track with the FBI's data on crimes reported to police. The FBI reports that between 1991-2004 the nation's violent crime rate declined 39% to a 30-year low and the murder rate declined 44% to a 39-year low, and that in 2005 violent crime may have risen slightly. Final FBI figures for 2005 will be published later this year.
The BJS and FBI reports are bad news for anti-gunners who mouth the “more guns, more crime” line whenever a gun control issue is being debated. Since 1991, the number of privately owned guns in the United States has risen by more than 70 million, to an all-time high.