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U.S. Violent Crime Rises at Pace Unseen in 10 Years

Preliminary figures for 2005 indicate a 2.5 percent increase in the number of violent crimes compared with 2004. <strong>Click to see previous years' figures.</strong>
Jeremy VanderKnyff, NPR
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Preliminary figures for 2005 indicate a 2.5 percent increase in the number of violent crimes compared with 2004. Click to see previous years' figures.
The nation's four regions all saw increases in violent crime in 2005. The Midwest experienced the steepest jump, 5.7 percent.
Jeremy VanderKnyff, NPR /
/
The nation's four regions all saw increases in violent crime in 2005. The Midwest experienced the steepest jump, 5.7 percent.
Violent crime is down in cities with a population of 1 million or more, but has risen in smaller cities. <strong>Click to see a comparison.</strong>
Jeremy VanderKnyff, NPR /
/
Violent crime is down in cities with a population of 1 million or more, but has risen in smaller cities. Click to see a comparison.

Violent crime across the nation is up. For the first time since 2001, there are more murders, rapes and assaults, according to the FBI.

But violent crime didn't just rise last year. According to the numbers, it jumped 2.5 percent. That's the biggest increase since 1991, when the country was battling gangs and the crack epidemic.

According to the report, cities with less than a quarter-million people had the largest increases -- homicides alone were up 12 percent last year.

Criminologist speculate that there are several reasons for the rise in violent crime: cutbacks in federal law enforcement grants, a focus on terrorism, a nationwide resurgence in gang activity and signs of increasing youth violence as children born in the 1990s become teenagers.

Justice Department officials say crime-fighting has been a priority of the Bush administration for the past six years and point to millions of dollars the Justice Department has spent on anti-gang initiatives and community programs such as Project Safe Neighborhoods.

The report wasn't all bad. Some of the nation's largest cities, including Los Angeles and New York, continue to show a drop in violent crime. The complete report will be released this fall.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Laura Sullivan is an NPR News investigative correspondent whose work has cast a light on some of the country's most significant issues.