Violent Crime Rate Fell in 2019, New FBI Data Shows

September 30, 2020 Updated: September 30, 2020

Violent crime across the United States declined for a third consecutive year in 2019, FBI data released on Sept. 28 shows.

The annual survey of crime compiled by the FBI indicated a 0.5 percent decline from 2018 in violent crime—which includes murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault—in the United States.

According to FBI data, an estimated 1,203,808 violent crimes were committed nationwide last year, with a rate of approximately 366.7 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.

Meanwhile, the property crime rate fell 4.1 percent from a year earlier, marking 17 consecutive years of declines, with an estimated 2,109.9 offenses per 100,000 people, the law enforcement agency also found.

Robbery and rape offenses fell 4.7 percent and 2.7 percent last year, respectively, compared to 2018, the law enforcement agency stated. Some types of violent crimes did see a rise, however. Aggravated assault rose 1.3 percent and murder and non-negligent manslaughter offenses rose by 0.3 percent.

The FBI data was compiled using figures from law enforcement agencies voluntarily taking part in its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. The law enforcement agency stated that 16,554 of 18,667 eligible federal, state, county, city, university and college, and tribal agencies submitted data.

“For the last three years, the Department of Justice has worked tirelessly with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to pursue those violent criminals, cartels, and gangs who seek to harm our communities,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said in a statement in response to the data.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to protect the public safety of citizens and communities across the United States through violent crime initiatives like Project Safe Neighborhoods, Project Guardian and, most recently, Operation Legend,” he added.

“Violent crime rates had been increasing during 2015–2016, so I am proud of the hard work by all prosecutors and law enforcement agents across the nation who have reduced violent crime rates during each of the last three years.  I look forward to continuing our joint efforts to protect the American public from the violence of criminals.”

“I am encouraged by the great work being done by law enforcement to combat violent crime across the nation,” FBI Deputy Director Dave Bowdich said. “The FBI continues to make clear that violence will not be tolerated, and we are committed to continuing our work with state, local, and tribal partners across the country to confront and deter violence, dismantle criminal organizations and gangs, eradicate drug trafficking, and bring justice to victims.”

Earlier this month, the Justice Department released crime statistics that showed that the violent crime rate across the country, excluding simple assault, dropped by 15 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year.

The results (pdf) found that from 2018 to 2019, the rate of violent crime—not including homicides—fell to 7.3 victimizations per 1,000 people aged 12 years and above from 8.6. The reduction was partly driven by a decline in rape or sexual assault victimization, which fell from 2.7 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2018 to 1.7 per 1,000 in 2019, the department stated.

For women, the fall was more significant, dropping by 27 percent from 2018 to 2019.

The data was collected for the National Crime Victimization Survey, the nation’s largest crime survey collected annually which asks about 160,000 individuals whether they are victims of crime regardless of whether the crime had been reported to the police.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been taking a hard-line stance against crime. Since 2017, his administration has ramped up federal law enforcement in areas of immigration, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and firearm offenses.

Janita Kan contributed to this report.