The Federal Bureau of Investigation released its national crime statistics for 2010 yesterday, and nearly every city's newspaper ran the story today with a local focus. The result: A whole bunch of exceptions that together support the rule. And that rule is hopeful. The preliminary FBI figures show the lowest violent crime rate in nearly 40 years, following a steady decline since a nationwide peak in the early 1990s. But plenty of localities buck that nationwide trend, meaning others have dropped far more than the national average.
As The New York Times points out, the trend toward less violent crime has baffled experts who analyze this kind of thing. Recent tough economic times should have made for more robberies, for example, but they were down 9.5 percent after falling 8 percent in 2009. Murder dropped 4.4 percent nationwide, rape and sex offenses dropped 4.2 percent, aggravated assault was down 3.6 percent, and property crimes like burglary, arson, and vehicle theft fell 2.8 percent. Not bad, but of course, there are some very glaring exceptions. Here are some cities with notable numbers:
New York: One of the biggest exceptions to the nationwide rule is New York City, where the murder rate climbed some 14 percent. "The number of rapes in New York City jumped 24.5 percent; robberies, 5.4 percent, and aggravated assaults, 3.2 percent," The Times reported. The only other city with more than a milion people to see its murder rate climb was Philadelphia, which had a rise of 1.4 percent, from 302 homicides in 2009 to 306 in 2010.