FBI: U.S. violent crime leveling off
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MAY 31, 2001

In what is being marked as an end to almost a decade of declining crime rates, the number of murder, rapes, and other serious offenses committed in the United States leveled off last year, according to preliminary statistics released by the FBI on Wednesday.

While murder rates nationally dropped by 1.1 percent and robberies by 0.7 percent, the number of rapes and assaults increased slightly. Auto thefts rose 2.9 percent while burglary dropped by 2.1 percent.

Overall, violent crime increased 0.1 percent after nearly a decade in which the rate dropped. But while criminal justice experts said it is too early to determine whether the trend will continue, they took the statistics -- culled from 17,000 police agencies -- as an end to the historic drops for which the Clinton administration often took credit.

At the same time, the data represents what has been reality for Indian Country for quite some time. As national rates dropped, violent crime in American Indian and Alaska Native communities remained strikingly stagnant and statistically shocking.

Between 1993 and 1998, the rate of victimization among Americans Indians over the age of 12 was 119 per 1,000. The rate was more than twice that experienced by African-Americans (57 per 1,000), two-and-a-half times that experienced by Whites (45 per 1,000), and four-and-a-half times that experienced by Asian-Americans (26 per 1,000).

American Indian women have been particularly affected by crime. Between 1993 and 1998, 23 per 1,000 American Indian women were victimized compared to 11 per 1,000 African-American, 8 per 1,000 White, and 2 per 1,000 Asian-American.

Law enforcement officials and tribal leaders attribute the high rates of crime to historical underfunding and lack of adequate police forces on reservations. The request to fund all of Indian Country's crime units in fiscal year 2002 is $160 million.

Walt Lamar, acting director of the BIA's Law Enforcement Program, says the need is $500 million. There are also about 2,600 cops serving Indian Country, while at least 4,300 are needed.

View Selected Statistics:
Violent Crime: Cities with Large American Indian / Alaska Native Populations (5/31)

Get the Preliminary Report:
Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program: January - December 2000 (FBI 5/30)

Relevant Links:
Law Enforcement Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs -

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