Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Violent Crime in U.S. Declines by 9 Percent
The number of violent crimes in the United States fell by more than 9 percent last year, continuing a downward trend that began in 1994, the government reported Tuesday.
Nearly 9.9 million violent crimes were committed in 1995, 1 million fewer than the previous year, according to preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The final report will be out next spring.
The survey, which did not include slayings, followed an FBI report last month showing that violent crimes by youths had decreased in 1995 for the first time in seven years. Slayings also were down, by 8 percent last year compared with 1994, according to separate figures from the FBI's preliminary 1995 data on crimes reported to police. Crime has become a dominant issue in the presidential campaign. Bob Dole on Monday proposed an anti-crime package, and President Bill Clinton basked in the endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest police organization. Clinton, campaigning in Michigan on Tuesday, said the 9 percent drop was the largest in a decade. "I'm not declaring victory against crime," he said. "I'm just saying we're moving in the right direction, and what we need to do is not to abandon the present course, but to bear down and do more of it." Among the factors Attorney General Janet Reno cited were "re-energized cooperation" between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in attacking major street gangs and narcotics rings. Dole suggested that the drop was almost entirely at the state level. "Nothing's happened at the federal level to bring crime down," he said at a rally in San Diego. And, he added, "Let's face it, 10 million violent crimes in one year is 10 million too many." The picture of violent crime last year: Rape incidents decreased almost 18 percent, to 354,670 from 432,700. Robbery fell 14 percent, to 1.1 million incidents from 1.3 million. Assaults declined 8 percent, to 8.4 million from 9.1 million. …