Statistics released today in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report revealed overall declines in the number of violent crimes and property crimes reported for the first six months of 2018 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2017. The report is based on information from 14,509 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six months of comparable data to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Violent Crime

Three of the offenses in the violent crime category—robbery, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, and aggravated assault—showed decreases when data from the first six months of 2018 were compared with data from the first six months of 2017. The number of robbery offenses decreased 12.5 percent, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses fell 6.7 percent, and aggravated assault offenses were down 2.0 percent. The fourth offense in the violent crime category, rape (revised definition), increased 0.6 percent.
The overall number of violent crimes decreased in all city population groups. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of 25,000 to 49,999 reported the largest decrease, 8.2 percent. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of 1,000,000 and over and in cities with populations of 50,000 to 99,999 reported the smallest decreases, 2.8 percent.
Violent crime decreased 4.5 percent in metropolitan counties and fell 3.5 percent in nonmetropolitan counties.
Violent crime decreased in three of the four regions of the nation. These crimes were down 6.5 percent in the South, 5.5 percent in the Midwest, and 4.7 percent in the Northeast. Violent crime increased 0.2 percent in the West.

Property Crime

In the property crime category, offenses dropped 7.2 percent. Burglaries were down 12.7 percent, larceny-thefts declined 6.3 percent, and motor vehicle thefts decreased 3.3 percent.
The overall number of property crimes decreased in all city population groups. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of under 10,000 inhabitants reported the largest decrease, 10.7 percent. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of 1,000,000 and over reported the smallest decrease, 2.1 percent.
Property crime decreased 11.1 percent in nonmetropolitan counties and 7.6 percent in metropolitan counties.
Property crime decreased in all four regions of the nation. Reports of these offenses reflected declines of 9.4 percent in the Midwest, 7.3 percent in the South, 6.7 percent in the Northeast, and 5.6 percent in the West.

Arson

In the UCR Program, arson offenses are collected separately from other property crimes. The number of arson offenses decreased 9.4 percent in the first six months of 2018 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2017. Three of the nation’s four regions reported decreases in the number of arsons. Arsons were down 16.5 percent in the Midwest, 15.9 percent in the South, and 12.8 percent in the Northeast. However, arson offenses rose 2.8 percent in the West.

Arson offenses declined 14.7 percent in cities with populations from 500,000 to 999,999, the largest decrease within the city groupings. Cities with populations of 1,000,000 and over experienced a 0.7 percent increase in arson offenses. Arsons decreased 8.8 percent in metropolitan counties and 5.9 percent in nonmetropolitan counties.

Caution Against Ranking

When the FBI publishes crime data via its UCR Program, some entities use the information to compile rankings of cities and counties. Such rankings, however, do not provide insight into the numerous variables that shape crime in a given town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region. These rankings lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that can create misleading perceptions that adversely affect communities and their residents. Only through careful study and analyses into the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction can data users create valid assessments of crime. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population or student enrollment.

The complete Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June, 2018 is available at https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ucr/publications.