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U.S. Murder Rate Rose 3.1% in 2001, FBI Says

June 24, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The number of murders in the United States rose by 3.1% last year as police departments nationwide reported an overall increase in major crimes for the first time in a decade, a law enforcement official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity about contents of an annual report being released today by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, said the document will reflect more robberies, burglaries and car thefts.

Overall, major crimes were up in 2001 by 2% from 2000, the official said Saturday.

The statistics were reported Sunday by the Washington Post, which said it had obtained a copy. The newspaper said the latest release shows crime reports in suburban areas overall were up 2.2%.

Regionally, only the Northeast showed a drop in crime, it said. The largest increase was in the West, followed by the South and Midwest, the newspaper said.

The FBI report excluded the more than 3,000 deaths from the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Citing the report, the Post said that if those deaths had been counted as homicides, the number of murders would have increased by 26% from 2000.

The reversal of nine years of declining crime numbers is certain to generate interest in Congress and the law enforcement community.

Criminologists have been warning for some time that surges in the numbers of teenagers and released prisoners, along with recent economic declines, threatened a return to rising crime.

The Post said the overall number of violent crimes rose by less than 1%.

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