Violent Crime rate in United States, 2005-2015
About violent crime data
The FBI collects crime data through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.
Violent crime is composed of four offenses: homicide (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes involve force or threat of force.
This data reflects the hierarchy rule, which requires that only the most serious offense in a case be counted. The descending order of violent crimes are homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, followed by the property crimes of burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft. Although arson is also a property crime, the rule does not apply to it. In cases in which an arson occurs in conjunction with another violent or property crime, both crimes are reported.
Since crime is a sociological phenomenon influenced by a variety of factors, the FBI discourages ranking locations or making comparisons as a way of measuring law enforcement effectiveness. Some of this data may not be comparable to previous years because of differing levels of participation over time.
The data found on the Crime Data Explorer represents reported crime, and is not an exhaustive report of all crime that occurs. It’s important to consider the various factors that lead to crime activity and crime reporting in a community before interpreting the data. Without these considerations the available data can be deceiving. Factors to consider include population size and density, economic conditions, employment rates, prosecutorial, judicial, and correctional policies, administrative and investigative emphases of law enforcement, citizens’ attitudes toward crime and policing, and the effective strength of the police force.
In 2013, the FBI started collecting rape data under a revised definition and removed “forcible” from the offense name. All reported rape incidents—whether collected under the revised definition or the legacy definition—are presented here. Since the rape definition changed, some state and local law enforcement agencies have continued to report incidents with the legacy definition, because they haven’t been able to change their records management systems to accommodate the change.