Vi­o­lent crimes drop slightly; ‘very lit­tle change’ no­ticed over­all

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY BEN CONERY

Re­ported crime in 2007 was slightly lower than the pre­vi­ous year, but over­all num­bers have re­mained fairly steady for most of the decade, ac­cord­ing to FBI statis­tics.

The FBI an­nual crime re­port re­leased Sept. 15 shows 1.4 mil­lion vi­o­lent crimes were re­ported dur­ing 2007, a less than 1 per­cent de­crease from 2006.

The de­crease in vi­o­lent crime — mur­der, rape, rob­bery and as­sault — fol­lowed a slight in­crease dur­ing 2006.

“There is very lit­tle change,” said James Alan Fox, a crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­fes­sor at North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity in Bos­ton. “That’s good news be­cause there are a lot of forces in so­ci­ety that would in­di­cate a po­ten­tial for uptick in crime.”

He said those in­di­ca­tors in­clude fewer re­sources for po­lice, in­mates re­turn­ing to their com­mu­ni­ties af­ter serv­ing long prison terms im­posed in the 1990s and a tough econ­omy.

Mr. Fox said the re­port doesn’t re­flect dis­turb­ing trends, such as the in­crease in homi­cides among younger black males.

From 2002 to 2006, there was a 38 per­cent in­crease in the num­ber of younger black males who fell vic­tim to homi­cide, he said. At the same time, the num­ber of younger black males com­mit­ting homi­cides in­creased 68 per­cent.

Mr. Fox said he didn’t yet have the raw num­bers to de­ter­mine whether this trend con­tin­ued dur­ing 2007. But he added, “Noth­ing sug­gests this con­cern in many cities isn’t per­sist­ing.”

Jeremy Travis, pres­i­dent of the John Jay Col­lege of the City Uni­ver­sity of New York, also sees prob­lems on the lo­cal level that aren’t noted in the FBI re­port.

Mr. Travis said the mi­nor fluc­tu­a­tions in re­ported crime num­bers na­tion­ally fail to re­flect the steep in­creases and de­creases oc­cur­ring in var­i­ous cities through­out the coun­try.

“This is a new phe­nom­e­non, and we do not un­der­stand it well. We don’t know what’s driv­ing the rates of in­crease and de­crease,” he said.

Mr. Travis tes­ti­fied be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee two weeks ago about the need for a more timely and com­pre­hen­sive data col­lec­tion sys­tem re­gard­ing vi­o­lent crime.

In re­leas­ing the FBI re­port, the Jus­tice Depart­ment noted that “some com­mu­ni­ties con­tinue to face vi­o­lent crime chal­lenges.”

The depart­ment pointed to the $200 mil­lion called for in the Pres­i­dent Bush’s 2009 bud­get to sup­port task forces in the com­mu­ni­ties with the most need. Crit­ics have said that amount is not enough.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.