Needs and Prospects for Crime-Fighting Technology: The Federal Role in Assisting State and Local Law Enforcement

By William Schwabe | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
CONTEXTUAL OVERVIEW

CRIME IN THE UNITED STATES

The magnitude of the crime problem in the United States is fairly well known and will be sketched only briefly here.

The most recently published detailed crime statistics are for 1997.1 That year, in the United States one property crime was committed on average every 3 seconds. One violent crime was committed every 19 seconds. On average, there was a burglary every 13 seconds, a motor vehicle theft every 23 seconds, a robbery every minute, a forcible rape every 5 minutes, and a murder every 29 minutes.2

Firearms were used in 67.8 percent of murders committed (UCR, Table 2.11).

An estimated $15.6 billion in property was stolen. Nearly half of this ($7 billion) resulted from thefts of motor vehicles. The overall recovery rate was 37 percent (UCR, p. 7).

In all, more than 13 million major crimes were reported as Crime Index offenses; that is, almost 5,000 per 100,000 inhabitants. Crime rates were highest in metropolitan areas, lowest in rural counties.

____________________
1
Preliminary statistics for 1998 were released May 16, 1999. Crime continued to drop, with both violent and property crimes down 7 percent. Murders were down 8 percent, rapes 5 percent, robberies 11 percent, aggravated assaults 5 percent, burglaries 7 percent, larceny-thefts 6 percent, and motor vehicle thefts 10 percent, from 1997.
2
Uniform Crime Reports for the United States, 1997 (henceforth, UCR), Chart 2.1. Unless otherwise indicated, all crime statistics cited are for 1997.

-5-

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Needs and Prospects for Crime-Fighting Technology: The Federal Role in Assisting State and Local Law Enforcement
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables ix
  • Executive Summary xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Contextual Overview 5
  • Chapter Three - Responsive Technology Assistance 13
  • Chapter Four - Technology Deployment 31
  • Chapter Five - 21st Century Crime Labs 47
  • Chapter Six - Bridging the Training Gap 59
  • Chapter Seven - Recommendations 65
  • References 67
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