Bucking Trends: FBI Reports Dip in Violent Crime Across the U.S. in 2022

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • The FBI released crime stats for 2022 on October 16, 2023.
  • After two years of increases or static movement, violent crime dropped in 2022.
  • Every category of violent crime decreased except robbery.
  • Nationwide, robbery rose by 1.3% year over year.
Man in handcuffs behind his back

Image: LukaTDB, iStock

In a surprising turn of events, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a notable decrease in violent crime across the U.S. in 2022.1 This decline in crime rates contrasts the prevailing trends of the past few years—and the feeling people may get from watching headlines.

A closer look at the numbers

The FBI's crime statistics estimates for 2022 reveal a 1.7% reduction in national violent crime compared to the 2021 estimates. Here's a breakdown of the key findings:

Murder and non-negligent manslaughter: This category saw one of the most significant drops, with a 6.1% decrease in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Rape: The revised rape category saw a 5.4% decrease in estimated offenses in 2022.

Aggravated assault: This category experienced a more modest 1.1% decrease in 2022.

Robbery: Interestingly, robbery bucked the trend by showing a 1.3% increase nationally.

Hate crime incidents: The FBI's Hate Crime Statistics for 2022 revealed some compelling insights. Notably, law enforcement agencies demonstrated increased participation, with 91.7% of agencies submitting incident reports. These reports involved a total of 11,634 criminal incidents and 13,337 related offenses motivated by bias towards various factors, including race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.

Hate crime incidents were categorized into single-bias and multiple-bias incidents. In 2022, there were over 11,000 single-bias hate crime incidents involving 13,278 victims, and 346 multiple-bias hate crime incidents with 433 victims. The top three categories in single-bias incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, and sexual orientation.

Understanding how the FBI evaluates violent crime

In the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime comprises four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The use or threat of force is what characterizes these crimes.

Data collection follows the Hierarchy Rule, which counts "only the most serious offense in a multiple-offense criminal incident." The descending order of UCR violent crimes is murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crimes, including burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft are also reported separately. Arson is treated differently and is reported even when it occurs alongside other violent or property crimes.

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What does the decrease in violent crime mean?

The FBI's report of a dip in violent crime across the United States in 2022 is encouraging. While it's challenging to pinpoint a single cause for this decline, a combination of factors, including increased reporting, community initiatives, social and economic improvements, policy changes, and technological advancements, may have contributed to this positive trend.

However, it's essential to continue monitoring and addressing crime in all its forms, including hate crimes, to ensure the safety of all citizens. The 2022 statistics provide valuable insights that can guide policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and communities in their efforts to maintain and further improve public safety.

About the FBI report

The FBI's crime statistics report for 2022 examines multiple aspects of criminal offenses across the U.S. The data was collected from over 11 million criminal offenses reported through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.2

Since 2016, the FBI has been transitioning to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to improve data collection and analysis. In 2021, data collection was exclusively based on NIBRS submissions, providing a more detailed and comprehensive view of crime in the United States.

Sources

  1. FBI, “Press release: FBI Releases 2022 Crime in the Nation Statistics.” October 16, 2023. Accessed October 26, 2023.
  2. FBI, Crime Data Explorer. Accessed October 26, 2023.
Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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