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Violent Crime Sees Increase, Report Says

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The FBI reported an increase in violent crime in 2015 over the year before, but a drop from levels in 2011 and 2006.

According to the agency’s Uniform Crime Report, released Monday, the number of murders reported by local law enforcement last year went up by 10.8 percent over 2014.  Overall violent crime rose by 3.9 percent.  Property crimes dropped 2.6 percent, the report says, for the the 13th straight year.

The figures released Monday were reported by law enforcement agencies through the FBI’s program, which compiles data on murders, aggravated assault, car thefts and other crime. The report says firearms were used in 71.5 percent of murders committed, 40.8 percent of robberies, and 24.2 percent of aggravated assaults.

When looking at the five and ten-year trends however, the 2015 estimated violent crime total was 0.7 percent below the 2011 level and 16.5 percent below the 2006 level.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, speaking Monday at an event in Little Rock, Arkansas, said the new data show that “we still have so much work to do.” But she also noted that crime in many communities has remained stable or decreased.

“And it is important to remember that while crime did increase overall last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades,” she added.

The FBI’s crime totals have attracted scrutiny in recent years because of the inconsistent reporting by law enforcement agencies on use of force by police officers.

In a message accompanying this year’s report, FBI Director James Comey called for more transparency and accountability in law enforcement and said the FBI is working toward developing a database chronicling incidents of police use of force.

“Information that is accurate, reliable, complete and timely will help all of us learn where we have problems and how to get better,” he said.