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Violent crime decreases in U.S.


 

The estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased 4.4 percent in 2013, when compared with 2012 data, according to FBI figures released this week. Property crimes decreased 4.1 percent, marking the 11th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.

The 2013 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 367.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,730.7 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate declined 5.1 percent compared to the 2012 rate, while the property crime rate declined 4.8 percent.

These and additional data are presented in the 2013 edition of the FBI’s annual report Crime in the United States. This publication is a statistical compilation of offense and arrest data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

The UCR Program collects information on crimes reported by law enforcement agencies regarding the violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, as well as the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. (Although the FBI classifies arson as a property crime, it does not estimate arson data because of variations in the level of participation by the reporting agencies. Consequently, arson is not included in the property crime estimate.) The program also collects arrest data for the offenses listed above plus 20 offenses that include all other crimes except traffic violations.

Prior to 2013, the FBI’s UCR Program collected rape data in the Summary Reporting System under the category “forcible rape.” In 2013, the program removed the term “forcible” from the title and revised the definition. The legacy UCR definition of rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” The revised UCR definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

A total of 18,415 city, county, state, university and college, tribal, and federal agencies participated in the UCR Program in 2013. A summary of the statistics reported by these agencies, which are included in Crime in the United States, 2013, follows:

In 2013, there were an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes. Each of the violent crimes show declines (murder and non-negligent manslaughter—4.4 percent, rape [legacy definition]—6.3 percent, robbery—2.8 percent, and aggravated assault—5.0 percent) compared with estimates from 2012.

Nationwide, there were an estimated 8,632,512 property crimes. The estimated numbers of each of the property crimes also show declines when compared with the previous year’s estimates. Burglaries dropped 8.6 percent, larceny-thefts declined 2.7 percent, and motor vehicle thefts were down 3.3 percent.

Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses calculated at an estimated $16.6 billion in 2013.

The FBI estimated that agencies nationwide made about 11.3 million arrests, excluding traffic violations, in 2013.

The arrest rate for violent crime was 159.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, and the rate for property crime was 513.2 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By violent crime offense, the arrest rate for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was 3.4 per 100,000 inhabitants; rape (aggregate total of revised and legacy), 5.5; robbery, 32.0; and aggravated assault, 118.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By property crime offense, the arrest rate for burglary was 82.9 per 100,000 inhabitants; larceny-theft, 405.5; and motor vehicle theft, 21.4. The arrest rate for arson was 3.4 per 100,000 inhabitants.

In 2013, there were 13,051 law enforcement agencies that reported their staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that, as of October 31, 2013, they collectively employed 626,942 sworn officers and 275,468 civilians, a rate of 3.4 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.

Caution Against Ranking

Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use the figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment.

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Year in Review: Crime


Scott Hammer, 51, the live-in boyfriend of Danielle Scholten-Linderman, 29, reportedly burned the woman’s farmhouse in Sheridan that they had been renovating, after he allegedly killed her in a struggle in Spencer Township, Wednesday, October 23. Post photo by L. Allen.

Scott Hammer, 51, the live-in boyfriend of Danielle Scholten-Linderman, 29, reportedly burned the woman’s farmhouse in Sheridan that they had been renovating, after he allegedly killed her in a struggle in Spencer Township, Wednesday, October 23. Post photo by L. Allen.

One of the most deadly crimes that took place this year was one in which a man allegedly killed his live-in girlfriend, set their house on fire, and then committed suicide weeks later while at the Kent County Correctional Facility.

Scott Allen Hammer was arrested October 23, after he allegedly killed Danielle Scholten-Linderman, 29, at a home on Lincoln Lake Avenue, in Spencer Township, where they had been staying with friends. The couple was staying there while renovating their home in Sheridan. Police said that sometime early that morning a struggle had taken place between the couple that resulted in Danielle’s death. Hammer then fled the home and went to their farmhouse at 3360 Wise Road, in Sheridan, Montcalm County, and set the house on fire. Montcalm County Sheriff deputies then apprehended Hammer without incident.

Hammer was charged with murder and lodged at the Kent County Jail. He was found dead in his cell on December 10.

In other deadly crime news, a former Sand Lake man was found guilty and sentenced in May to life in prison in the double slaying of an Eaton County couple.

Christopher Allen Perrien, 39, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the deaths of Michael Greene, 62, and his wife, Terri, 46.

Michael Greene was a retired state police detective. He had been shot five times, and his body was reportedly posed. His wife’s body was found in the pond behind their home.

Perrien reportedly committed the murders while out on work release. He was convicted and sentenced on a property crime on September 1, 2011 in Eaton County, and was granted work release by the court, despite a long criminal history. He had lied to the court about having a job.

In an ongoing story known to many longtime area residents, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision last spring affirming the death penalty for Marvin Charles Gabrion II, convicted in 2002 in the 1997 kidnapping and drowning death of 19-year-old Rachel Timmerman, of Cedar Springs.

The Court upheld the conviction and sentencing 12-4.

Although Michigan does not have the death penalty, Gabrion was sentenced to death by lethal injection, because Rachel’s body was found on federal land, in the Manistee National Forest. Rachel’s 11-month-old daughter, Shannon Verhage, was with her at the time of her disappearance, and has never been found.

The family of another area woman killed by an estranged boyfriend in 2012 found justice in November. Robert Michael Munsell, 30, of Ionia, pled guilty to second-degree murder in her death of his former girlfriend, Julie Danielson, 31, of Pierson. Montcalm County Sheriff’s deputies found the body of Danielson, when they responded to a domestic disturbance on Whitefish Woods Drive in Pierson Township about 3:58 a.m. Saturday morning, November 17, 2012. Munsell had reportedly called it in, saying that he had had an altercation with another man at the home, then left.

Police said his story was inconsistent, and that he was covered with blood. He finally confessed that he went to Danielson’s home and they argued. When she pushed him toward the door to leave, he slapped her and she fell to the floor and went unconscious.

Munsell then said he panicked, went upstairs and got a knife, and then went back downstairs and cut her throat. He said gave her a hug before he left, which explained the blood on him.

Danielson has twin sons, who were not home at the time of the murder.

Munsell was sentenced to a minimum of 37 years and 6 months, and a maximum of 75 years.

 

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