Violent Crime

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Definition

In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force.

Data collection

The data presented in Crime in the United States reflect the Hierarchy Rule, which requires that only the most serious offense in a multiple-offense criminal incident be counted. The descending order of UCR violent crimes are murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, followed by the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Although arson is also a property crime, the Hierarchy Rule does not apply to the offense of arson. In cases in which an arson occurs in conjunction with another violent or property crime, both the arson and the additional crime are reported.

Overview 

  • In 2015, an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes occurred nationwide, an increase of 3.9 percent from the 2014 estimate. (See Tables 1 and 1A.)
  • When considering 5- and 10-year trends, the 2015 estimated violent crime total was 0.7 percent below the 2011 level and 16.5 percent below the 2006 level. (See Tables 1 and 1A.)
  • There were an estimated 372.6 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015, a rate that rose 3.1 percent when compared with the 2014 estimated violent crime rate. (See Tables 1 and 1A.)
  • Aggravated assaults accounted for 63.8 percent of violent crimes reported to law enforcement in 2015. Robbery offenses accounted for 27.3 percent of violent crime offenses; rape (legacy definition) accounted for 7.5 percent; and murder accounted for 1.3 percent. (Based on Table 1.) 
  • Information collected regarding types of weapons used in violent crime showed that firearms were used in 71.5 percent of the nation’s murders, 40.8 percent of robberies, and 24.2 percent of aggravated assaults. (Weapons data are not collected for rape.) (See Expanded Homicide Data Table 7, Robbery Table 3, and the Aggravated Assault Table.)

Violent Crime Offense Figure

What you won't find on this page

Clearance and arrest data for violent crime.