Despite economic turmoil in the country, violent crime in the United States declined 6.5% last year, according to statistics released by the FBI today.
The 2010 figures showed a continued decline in violence that began decades ago and has been uninterrupted since 2006.
Figures in 2009 showed a drop of 5.3% in total violent crime from the previous year. From 1997 to 2006, violent crime dropped a total of 13%.
The biggest drop last year was recorded for robberies, which plummeted 10.5%. The murder rate dropped 4.8%, aggravated assaults were down 4.7%, and rape declined 5.5%.
Even nonviolent property crime declined last year by 3.3%.
A preliminary report earlier this year indicated a decline in crimes reported in the first half of 2010 to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies around the country.
Experts can only speculate on why the crime rate continues a steep decline. Possibilities include stepped-up community policing, government programs targeted at youth and programs aimed to reduce recidivism in newly released prison inmates.
It’s also part of a broader, longer-term trend: Between 1991 and 2010, the homicide rate fell 51 percent and property crimes dropped 64 percent. Wow!