The FBI released the first-round of 2017 crime data earlier this week. The Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report covers January through June of 2017 and the results are mixed. The good news is that there was an overall decrease (down 0.8%) in violent crime for the first six months of 2017 compared to the same time period in 2016. This respite comes after two consecutive years of increases in violent crime nationwide.
Rape, robbery, and aggravated assault all decreased between 2016-2017 after increasing between both 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. Burglary, larceny/theft, and arson all continued to decrease, contributing to an overall 2.9% reduction in the number of property crimes.
The overall decrease in violent crime can likely be attributed to the renewed efforts of the federal Department of Justice. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has prioritized violent crime, including a refocused effort on prosecuting firearm offenses. Large cities (1 million+ residents) witnessed less violent crime than in the previous year but cities with between half a million and just under a million residents saw an increase in violent crime compared to the first half of 2016. There was also an overall 1.5% increase in the number of murders nationwide. Big cities saw 1.9% fewer murders, while those in the second-largest population group (between 500k-1m residents) saw an 18.7% increase in murders. This group includes cities with substantial gun control like Baltimore, which other sources confirm saw a record-breaking number of homicides in 2017 and a murder rate of 55.8 per 100,000 people – putting it on par with some of the most dangerous cities in the world.
After two years of increases in violent crime and murder nationwide, the early returns indicate the no-nonsense approach instituted by President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have helped to turn the tide of violent crime. We look forward to seeing the full data for 2017, and to the results of this Administration’s commitment to reducing violent crime.