Crime data are dynamic across space and time, with offenses occurring, incidents being reported, arrests being made, or property being recovered. The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting1 (UCR) program tracks long-term trends and provides snapshots-in-time of criminal incidents across the country. In 2017, an estimated 1,247,321 violent crimes (offenses that involve force or threat of force including murder/non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and 7,694,086 property crimes (which cover theft-type offenses like taking of property or money including burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) occurred nationwide. The FBI Crime Clock represents the annual ratio of crime across the country to fixed time intervals, and provides a simplified view of how often violent and property crime offenses took place in 2017. Over the ten-year period preceding 2017, the number of property crimes in the U.S. has consistently declined, while the number of violent crimes has fluctuated.
In 2017, the rate of property crime was estimated at 2,362.2 per 100,000 inhabitants nationally. Males represented the largest share of both property crime offenders (51%) and property crime victims (53%). Nearly three quarters of the property crime victims were White, while 17% were Black or African American. The age distribution shows that more property crimes were committed by younger cohorts, whereas the victims were predominantly middle-aged or older. Among property crimes, 42% were perpetrated at the victim’s place of residence or home, and 35% were linked to some form of ‘destruction/damage/vandalism’ of property. Property crimes resulted in losses estimated at $15.3 billion nationwide in 2017.
Virginia has experienced a steady decline in property crime rates over the last decade, similar to the national trend, with a 2017 rate of 1792.9 per 100,000.
Nationwide, there were an estimated 382.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017. Nearly 80% of all violent crime offenders in the U.S. were male, whereas the victims were more evenly balanced across gender lines (51% male, 49% female). 61% of violent crime victims were White, and 34% were Black or African American. The largest percentage of violent crime offenders and victims were between the ages of 20-29 years,while more than 36,000 violent crime victims were children under 10. Half of these crimes were reported at a residence or home, another 21% occurred on ‘highways/alleys/streets/sidewalks’, and parking garages and lots accounted for a further 6%. A fifth of the victims reported their perpetrators to be strangers. Data on weapons used showed that firearms were used in 73% of the murders, 41% of robberies, and 26% of aggravated assaults.
With respect to violent crime since 2007, the rate for Virginia declined until 2012, plateaued for a couple of years, and after an uptick in 2016, fell again to 208.2 in 2017.
MORE ABOUT VIRGINIA:
State-specific crime statistics for Virginia are available from the 2017 “Crime in Virginia” report from the state police, and I intend to delve into these numbers in more detail in an upcoming post. For now, the 2017 VA Crime Clock is a quick way to gauge the frequency of criminal offenses within the commonwealth. A crime against a person was reported every 5 minutes (106,533 offenses reported), a crime against property was committed every 2 minutes (260,584 offenses reported), and a crime against society occured once every 6 minutes (85,710 offenses reported). The full report for Virginia is available here.
1: Participating local, county, state, tribal, & federal law enforcement agencies voluntarily share their data through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program
2: FBI Crime Data Explorer: https://crime-data-explorer.fr.cloud.gov/