Preliminary figures indicate that law enforcement agencies throughout the nation showed an overall increase of 1.7 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first 6 months of 2015 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2014. The violent crime category includes murder, rape (revised definition), rape (legacy definition), robbery, and aggravated assault. The number of property crimes in the United States from January to June of 2015 decreased 4.2 percent when compared with data for the same time period in 2014. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Arson is also a property crime, but data for arson are not included in property crime totals due to fluctuations in reporting. Figures for 2015 indicate that arson decreased 5.4 percent when compared with 2014 figures for the same time period.
The data presented in Tables 1 and 2 indicate the percent change in offenses known to law enforcement for the first 6 months of 2015 compared with those for the first half of 2014 by population group and region, respectively. Table 3 reflects the percent change in offenses reported within the nation for consecutive years (each year compared to the prior year). Table 4 presents the number of offenses known to law enforcement for agencies with resident populations of 100,000 or more that provided 6 months of complete data for 2015. In addition, Table 4 presents 6 months of 2014 data, where available, as a point of comparison. All data in this Report are preliminary.
In 2013, the FBI’s UCR Program initiated the collection of rape data under a revised definition within the Summary Based Reporting System. The term “forcible” was removed from the offense name, and the definition was changed to “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
The number of rape incidents reported using the revised definition, as well as the number of rapes submitted using the legacy definition, are included in this report in separate columns in each table. The rape figures for those agencies that changed from reporting rape under the legacy definition in 2014 to the revised definition in 2015 are not included in trend calculations in Tables 1-3, but they are reported in Table 4 for agencies 100,000 and more in population. Please note: Rape data reported for 2014 and 2015 cannot be aggregated by all agencies. Instead, two distinct groups of agencies (those reporting using the legacy definition and those reporting using the revised definition) are used for calculating trends. Therefore, the percent changes from one year to the next within each group are calculated with fewer agencies than in recent years. Offenses with fewer counts are often sensitive to minor differences when calculating trends. More information about this subject is presented in footnotes and data declarations for each table.
Caution against ranking
Figures used in this Report were submitted voluntarily by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Individuals using these tabulations are cautioned against drawing conclusions by making direct comparisons between cities. Comparisons lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. It is important to remember that crime is a social problem and, therefore, a concern of the entire community. In addition, the efforts of law enforcement are limited to factors within its control. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual agencies. Further information on this topic can be obtained in Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: Their Proper Use.