US violent crime decreased in 2023, continuing to reverse pandemic-era spike, FBI data shows

FILE - The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building is seen June 9, 2023, in Washington. New FBI statistics show violent crime in the U.S. dropping again last year, continuing a downward trend after a pandemic-era spike. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) (Alex Brandon, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – New FBI statistics show overall violent crime in the U.S. dropped again last year, continuing a downward trend after a pandemic-era spike.

Murders dropped 13% in the last three months of 2023 compared with the same period the year before, according to FBI data released this week. Violent crime overall was down 6%.

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Property crime also ticked downward about 3% in the nation as a whole, though in the Northeast and in large cities over a million people it increased by about the same amount.

The quarterly report released Tuesday is based on data sent to the FBI from about 80% of the law enforcement agencies in the country. Final detailed data for 2023 is expected to be released in the fall.

President Joe Biden said the drop in the murder rate was one of the steepest in the country’s history. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, passed in 2021 by a Democratic-led Congress and signed by Biden, allowed cities and states to invest $15 billion on public safety, he said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland called the data encouraging and touted law enforcement efforts to target gangs, illegal guns and other issues.

The FBI’s report was in line with the findings of the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice, which found that homicides were down an average of 10% in a survey of 32 cities over the year before, though it found violent crime still remained higher than before the coronavirus pandemic in many cities.

Homicides showed a steep 29% increase in 2020, the largest one-year jump since the FBI began keeping records. The rise defied easy explanation, though experts said possible contributors included the massive disruption of the pandemic, gun violence, worries about the economy and intense stress.

Crime appeared to stay steady the following year, though a record-collecting overhaul at the FBI meant many big cities weren't included in the report that year.

FBI data showed violent crime across the U.S. decreased in 2022, nearing pre-pandemic levels, though property crimes rose that year.

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