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Spike in Violent Crime in '16 Was Biggest Increase in 25 Years

26 September 2017

Violent crime in the US ticked up in 2016 for the second consecutive year - the first time a two-year increase was recorded in more than a decade, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The report, which covers January-December 2016, reaffirms that the worrying violent crime increase that began in 2015 after many years of decline was not an isolated incident.

As a candidate on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump repeatedly cited the murder-rate uptick, which jumped almost 8 percent in 2016, and the overall increase in violent crime as justification for his calls for a return to "law and order". The violent crime rate increased by 3.4 percent nationwide in 2016, the largest single-year increase in 25 years.

The FBI statistics released Monday showed violent crime rates were still near historical lows, but had increased slightly, according to The Chicago Tribune.

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The FBI's Uniform Crime Report, which is compiles data on offenses provided by police departments, shows that between 2015 and 2016 the number of violent crimes reported across the country increased by 4.1 percent.

Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements told Eyewitness News that violent crimes were relatively flat the last two years, after they "fell off the table" in 2014.

"Chicago saw about a 50-percent increase in its homicide rate a year ago", he said.

The Trump administration seized on the data as proof of the legitimacy of its tough-on-crime agenda.

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The FBI's release of the figures comes as the Trump administration has warned ominously of a unsafe crime wave.

The increase was driven by an uptick in several major cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and Las Vegas. The rate of serious violent and property crimes is at its lowest level since 1966. And the data says homicides climbed 8.6 percent. Fordham University law professor John Pfaff pointed out that "five neighborhoods in Chicago explain 10 percent of the national increase in homicide rates", NBC reported.

"This report highlights how Connecticut's anti-crime and anti-violence initiatives are working to make residents and communities safer", said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, also in a statement.

Even with last year's spike, however, Chicago's homicide rate is not at record-high levels. Small towns experienced a significant increase in homicides, but it was still less than half of that seen in big cities (8.4% vs. 20.3%).

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The number of reported rapes fell by 14, from 95 to 81.

Spike in Violent Crime in '16 Was Biggest Increase in 25 Years