It's tough times for crooks as well, according to the FBI, which released its Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report today, showing declines in all the major violent crime and property crime categories for the first six months of 2010 compared to the first six months of 2009.

According to the report, the nation experienced a 6.2 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes and a 2.8 percent decline in the number of property crimes from January to June 2010, when compared with data from the same time period in the prior year. The report is based on information from more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six comparable months of data to the FBI during the first six months of both 2009 and 2010.

Regarding violent crimes, all four of the offense tyopes in this category declined nationwide, the FBI said.

Robbery fell 10.7 percent, murder was down 7.1 percent, forcible rape declined 6.2 percent, and aggravated assault decreased 3.9 percent. Violent crimes decreased in all city groups, with the biggest drop, 8.3 percent, in cities with populations between half a million and a million. Violent crime was down in the nonmetropolitan and metropolitan counties, too, with declines of 7.6 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, the FBI said.

For the six-month comparison period, violent crime fell in all four regions of the nation: 7.8 percent in the South, 7.2 percent in both the Midwest and the West, and 0.2 percent in the Northeast. The Northeast was the only region to experience an increase in murders, 5.7 percent. Murder declined in the other three regions, authorities said.

regarding property crime, motor vehicle theft dropped 9.7 percent, larceny-theft fell 2.3 percent and burglary decreased 1.4 percent, the report said. property crimes decreased in all four national regions, the least in the Northeast, and cities between a half million and a million inhabitants saw property crime drop nearly 5 percent.

Property crime increased slightly, one percent, in nonmetroploitan counties, the FBI reported.

Arson offenses, which are tracked separately from other property crimes, decreased 14.6 percent nationwide.