The U.S. saw an estimated 3.9 percent increase in violent crimes in 2015, according to the latest crime statistics released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The bureau’s annual report, Crime in the United States, found that in 2015 there were an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes.
The new report adds that the number of murders, rapes and assaults have all gone up after years of low rates. Murders and non-negligent manslaughter saw the highest jump among these, rising by 10.8 percent in 2015 compared to 2014 statistics. The rate of rape rose by 6.3 percent and aggravated assault by 4.6 percent. Robbery also increased by 1.4 percent compared to the year before.
However, the new estimates are still well below the peak crime levels of 1990. The U.S. witnessed 15,696 murders in 2015, the report said.
The use of guns has also risen, the FBI said. They were used in 71.5 percent of murders, 40.8 percent of robberies and 24.2 percent of assaults. In comparison, the year 2014 saw guns being used in 67.9 percent of murders, 40.3 percent of robberies and 22.5 percent of assaults.
“We need more transparency and accountability in law enforcement. We also need better, more informed conversations about crime and policing in this country. To get there, we are improving the way this nation collects, analyzes, and uses crime statistics and data about law enforcement’s use of force,” FBI Director James Comey said in a statement. “Information that is accurate, reliable, complete, and timely will help all of us learn where we have problems and how to get better.”
The report used the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s legacy definition of rape to arrive at the estimated 90,185 rapes that occurred in 2015. The UCR’s legacy definition states that rape is: “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” This was revised in 2013 and the revised definition says that 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.”
Law enforcement agencies submit their data to the FBI’s UCR Program for this annual report. This year, of the 18,439 agencies that are eligible to submit their data, 16,643 did so.
While violent crimes have increased, property crimes have decreased by 2.6 percent in 2015. These crimes resulted in a loss of $14.3 billion.
The report found that crime was highest in southern U.S. The rates of murder and manslaughter were over twice as high in southern U.S. when compared to West, the Midwest and the Northeast.