Violent crime in the U.S. declined for the fourth year in a row in 2010, the FBI announced Monday, in its annual report on crime.

The violent crime rate -- defined as murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault -- declined 6.5 percent compared to 2009. All four categories of violent crime decreased.

In 2010, murder and non-negligent manslaughter declined 4.2 percent. Rape declined 5 percent. Robbery plunged 10 percent.  Aggravated assault decreased 4.1 percent.

Our federal law enforcement agents continue to make progress on one of our core objectives -- fighting violent crime across this country, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

In 2010, there were an estimated 1,246,248 reported violent crimes in the U.S. and an estimated 9,082,887 reported property crimes.

Property Crime Also Declined in 2010

Also, the property crime rate, which includes motor vehicle theft and burglary, decreased 3.3 percent.

The largest decline, 7.4 percent, was for motor vehicle thefts. The estimated number of burglaries decreased 2 percent, and the estimated number of larceny-thefts declined 2.4 percent. 

Also property crimes (excluding arson) victims lost an estimated $15.7 billion in 2010.

Arson decreased 7.6 percent in 2010. (Note: Although the FBI classifies arson as a property crime, it doesn't estimate arson data because of variations in the level of participation by the reporting agencies. Consequently, arson isn't included in the property crime estimate.)

The FBI's annual Crime in the United States report is based on data collected by 18,108 government agencies and academic institutions.

Last week, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its report on crime, and the agency found that violent crime plunged 13 percent in 2010. The BJS report is derived from a survey of U.S. households and doesn't include murder or other crimes resulting in death.


Also, excluding traffic violations, there were an estimated 13.1 million arrests nationwide -- with 552,077 arrests for violent crimes, and 1,643,962 arrests for property crimes.

Drug abuse violations totaled an estimated 1,638,846 or more 12 percent of all arrests nationally. Also, an estimated 1,412,223 arrests were made for driving under the influence.

The estimated arrest rate for the U.S. in 2010 was 4,257.6 per 100,000 inhabitants

Reduced Law Enforcement Staffing

In 2010, there were 14,744 law enforcement agencies that reported staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that as of Oct. 31, 2010, they employed 705,009 sworn officers and 308,599 civilians, for a 1,012,608 law enforcement total;  in 2009 there were 706,886 sworn officers, 314,570 civilian employees, for a 1,021,456 law enforcement total.

Public Policy Analysis: The report continues a favorable trend and is especially encouraging given that many jurisdictions implemented law enforcement budget cuts for 2010.