Violent crime appears to have declined in 2007 for the first time in three years, with major cities showing the most significant drops, according to a preliminary FBI report.
Bureau officials said that the number of reported violent crimes -- offenses including homicide, robbery and assault -- dipped by 1.4% across the United States last year compared with 2006.
Though cities with more than 1 million residents improved, smaller urban communities such as Baltimore and Atlanta apparently posted a rise in homicides in 2007, the preliminary data showed.
Property crime was also down, with the number of offenses falling 2.1%, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. Arsons, which are tracked separately, fell by 7%.