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Crime in the United States - 1991.

Crime statistics compiled by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program show that last year, an estimated 14.9 million offenses were reported to the Nation's law enforcement agencies. The statistics, based on a Crime Index of selected violent and property offenses, represent an average of 5,898 crimes for each 100,000 U.S. inhabitants. Over 16,000 law enforcement agencies, covering 96 percent of the Nation's population, submitted data for 1991, which are published in the FBI's annual publication, Crime in the United States.

Crime Trends

Overall, crimes reported to law enforcement, as measured by the Index, rose 3 percent in 1991 over the 1990 total. For 5- and 10-year intervals, the 1991 Index total was 10 percent higher than in 1987 and 15 percent above the 1982 level.

Violent crime, collectively, increased 5 percent. Murder rose 5 percent, robbery was up 8 percent, and forcible rape and aggravated assault each increased 4 percent.

On the other hand, 1991 figures for property crime show a 2-percent increase. Burglary rose 3 percent; larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft, 2 percent each; and arson, 1 percent.

Regionally, the West and Midwest each registered a 4-percent increase in the total number of Crime Index offenses reported. The South recorded a 3-percent rise, while the Northeast showed a less-than-1-percent decline.

Cities, like the Nation as a whole, experienced a rise in crime of 3 percent. Suburban and rural counties recorded increases of 4 and 5 percent, respectively.

Crime Clearance

Law enforcement agencies nationwide cleared 21 percent of the reported Crime Index offenses. The clearance rate for violent crimes was 45 percent, while 18 percent of the property crimes were cleared. Clearance rates were highest for murder (67 percent) and lowest for burglary (13 percent).


During 1991, law enforcement agencies made an estimated 14.2 million arrests for all criminal infractions other than traffic violations. The highest arrest counts were for driving under the influence (1.8 million), larceny-theft (1.6 million), and simple assault and drug abuse violations (1 million each). The arrest rate was 5,648 arrests per 100,000 inhabitants.

The total number of arrests decreased by 1 percent in 1991, as compared to the 1990 total. Of those arrested, 46 percent were under the age of 25, 81 percent were male, and 69 percent were white.

Violent Crimes

The total number of violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) reported to law enforcement in 1991 exceeded 1.9 million offenses, a rate of 758 for every 100,000 U.S. inhabitants. The 1991 total was the highest ever recorded, up 5 percent over 1990, 29 percent over 1987, and 45 percent over 1982. Data on weapons used show firearms were used in 31 percent of all murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults, collectively.

Murder--Murder counts reached an all-time high of 24,703 during 1991, for a rate of 10 per 100,000 inhabitants. Based on data received, males accounted for 78 percent of the murder victims, and 89 percent of the victims were 18 years old or older. Of every 100 victims, 50 were black, and 47 were white. Firearms were the weapons used in approximately 7 of every 10 murders.

Forcible Rape--Forcible rapes reported to law enforcement in 1991 totaled 106,593. In Uniform Crime Reports, the victims of forcible rape are always female, and in 1991, an estimated 83 of every 100,000 females in the country were reported rape victims.

Robbery--Law enforcement agencies recorded 687,732 robberies in 1991. The estimated property loss in connection with this offense reached $562 million. In 1991, 40 percent of all robberies were committed through the use of strong-arm tactics and another 40 percent with firearms. A comparison of 1990 and 1991 robbery totals shows that those committed with firearms were up by 17 percent.

Aggravated Assault--Aggravated assaults, totaling 1,092,739, comprised 57 percent of the violent crimes committed in 1991. Blunt objects or other dangerous weapons were used in 31 percent of these offenses, while assaults by firearms accounted for 24 percent of the total.

Property Crime

The estimated property crime total in 1991 was 13 million, for an average of 5,140 offenses for every 100,000 inhabitants. Estimated total dollar losses due to property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) reached $16.1 billion or $1,243 per reported offense.

Burglary--Over 3.2 million burglaries were reported in 1991, of which 2 of every 3 were of residences. Seventy percent of all burglaries involved forcible entry, and the offenses were evenly divided between day and night.

Larceny-Theft--Larceny-theft, at 8.1 million offenses, comprised 55 percent of the Crime Index total, with a national loss estimated at $3.9 billion. Thefts of motor vehicle parts, accessories, and contents made up the largest portion of reported larcenies--37 percent.

Motor Vehicle Theft--In 1991, 1.7 million motor vehicle thefts, or an average of 1 theft for every 117 registered motor vehicles, were reported. Automobiles accounted for 80 percent of all motor vehicles stolen.

Arson--The number of arsons reported in 1991 reached 99,784 incidents. As in previous years, arsonists most frequently targeted structures, which comprised 54 percent of the total. Of the arsons cleared during the year, 40 percent involved individuals under age 18, a higher percentage of juvenile involvement than for any other Index crime.
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Publication:The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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