In the earlier FBI report, violent crime reported to police rose 1.2 percent last year compared to 2011. The number of property crimes reported to authorities declined 0.8 percent. But that report doesn’t include crimes not reported to authorities. Less than half of violent crimes were reported to police last year, and only about a third of property crimes were reported.
Crime rates had been declining since 1993, with an uptick in 2006 the only exception. From 1993 to 2011, the rate of violent crime declined by 72 percent.
“It’s clear that crime levels have reached what seems to be the bottom in terms of the declines in the 1990s and 2000s,” said Northeastern University criminology professor James Alan Fox.
The goal for law enforcement authorities from here on out, say criminologists, is keeping crime levels at their current low levels.
The victims survey is an attempt to capture crime trends more fully than the FBI’s yardstick.
Lynch, the former Bureau of Justice Statics head, said the increases in the crime victimization survey sound significant, but he pointed out that crime rates have been going down for so long and are now so low that even a small increase in violent victimization becomes a large percentage change.