FBI: Violent Crime, Murders Up In 2015

Violent crime increased appreciably in the U.S. in 2015 while property crimes declined slightly, according to annual crime statistics released by the FBI.

The FBI released its Uniform Crime Reporting package on Sept. 26, detailing raw crime numbers as reported by law enforcement agencies across the U.S., as well as numbers indicating overall crime trends across the country.

In all, there were 1,197,704 violent crimes recorded in the U.S. in 2015, according to the FBI. That includes 15,696 murders, more than 90,000 rapes, and 327,374 robberies.

Firearms remained the weapon of choice for America's violent criminals -- the FBI says guns were used in 71.5 percent of U.S. murders, 40.8 percent of robberies, and 24.2 percent of aggravated assaults.

The number of murders was particularly alarming, experts said, with a nearly 11 percent increase. That's 1,532 more murders than the agency recorded in 2014, statistics show.

Despite that, overall crime -- both violent and nonviolent -- is down drastically from even a decade ago. While the murder rate increased from 4.4 in 2014 to 4.9 last year, that's still significantly lower than the 5.6 murders per 100,000 people recorded in 2005.

"Violent crime...did go up," tweeted John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham Law School. "But increase is such that [2015] was still one of the safest years."

Attorney General Loretta Lynch also downplayed the numbers while speaking to reporters at an event in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In context, crime remains historically low, Lynch noted, and said, "It is important to remember that while crime did increase overall last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades."

Sources: FBI, Los Angeles Times, John Pfaff/Twitter / Photo credit: Krokodyl/Wikimedia Commons

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