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FBI Seal Crime in the United States, 2002 Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Violent Crime

Associated Tables

(2.2) Violent crime by month, percent distribution, 1998-2002

Associated Figures

(2.5) Violent crime, 1998-2002


Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program's definition, violent crimes involve force or threat of force.



Number of offenses

Rate per 100,000

2001 1,439,480 504.5
2002 1,426,325 494.6
Percent change -0.9 -2.0

National Volume, Trends, and Rates

During 2002, the number of violent crimes declined nationally by 0.9 percent from the 2001 estimate. An examination of 5- and 10-year trend data showed that the 2002 estimate of 1.4 million violent crimes was 7.0 percent lower than the 1998 approximation and 25.9 percent below the 1993 figure. (See Table 1.)

As in previous years, aggravated assaults accounted for the largest share of the violent crime distribution, 62.7 percent. Robbery made up 29.5 percent of the total; forcible rape, 6.7 percent; and murder, 1.1 percent. (Based on Table 1.)

The violent crime rate for 2002 was estimated at 494.6 offenses per 100,000 persons, a decrease of 2.0 percent from the previous year's rate. The current estimate was a decrease of 12.9 percent when compared to the 1998 rate and 33.8 percent when compared to the 1993 violent crime rate. (See Table 1.)

Community Types

Metropolitan Statistical Areas, or MSAs, are those community types made up of a central city or urbanized area of at least 50,000 inhabitants, the county containing that city or area, and any other adjacent suburban counties with close cultural and economic ties to the area. In 2002, an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. population resided in MSAs, where approximately 88.5 percent of the Nation's violent crimes occurred. The estimated offense total of 1,262,359 violent crimes resulted in a rate of 545.6 per 100,000 MSA residents. The cities outside MSAs accounted for 8 percent of the population in 2002, and they accounted for 6.4 percent of the Nation's total violent crimes. The rate of 403.1 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants of those cities was based on an estimated 90,586 violent crimes. Twelve percent of the U.S. population lived in rural counties in 2002, and 5.1 percent of the Nation's total violent crimes occurred in those areas. Rural counties had an estimated 73,380 violent crimes, or a rate of 212.6 violent offenses per 100,000 rural county inhabitants. (Based on Table 2.)

Regional Offense Trends and Rates

The UCR Program divides the United States into four regions: the Northeast, the Midwest, the South, and the West. A map of the United States delineating the regions is included in Appendix III. Estimated crime volume, rates, and percent changes by region are published in Table 4.

The Northeast

The Northeastern Region, accounting for approximately 18.8 percent of the U.S. population in 2002, had an estimated 15.8 percent of the Nation's violent crimes. The estimated number of violent crimes, 225,841, was down 2.3 percent from the prior year's estimate. The 2002 violent crime rate of 416.5 per 100,000 inhabitants was also down, 2.8 percent, since 2001. The Northeastern Region had the lowest murder rate among the four regions. The estimated rate of 4.1 murders per 100,000 persons was a 3.7 percent decrease from the 2001 rate. (See Tables 3 and 4.)

The Midwest

Accounting for 22.6 percent of the population in 2002, the Midwestern Region experienced 19.4 percent of the Nation's estimated violent crimes, a decline of 0.9 percent from the previous year's numbers. The region had an estimated 276,763 offenses, or a violent crime rate of 424.9 per 100,000 persons, a 1.4 percent decrease from 2001. The estimated murder rate of 5.1 per 100,000 in population reflected a 3.5 percent decrease from the prior year's figures. (See Tables 3 and 4.)

The South

The Southern Region, the most populous section of the country accounting for 35.8 percent of the total U.S. population in 2002, had 41.4 percent of the total violent crimes, an estimated 590,086 offenses. The estimated violent crime rate of 571.0 per 100,000 persons was 2.0 percent lower than the 2001 rate. However, the South's murder rate increased slightly to 6.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, up 0.7 percent from the previous year's rate. (See Tables 3 and 4.)

The West

Approximately 22.8 percent of the U.S. population resided in the Western Region of the country; the West accounted for 23.4 percent of total violent crimes. The volume of violent crimes, 333,635, decreased 0.5 percent from the 2001 figure. The violent crime rate was measured at 508.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, a decrease of 2.1 percent from the rate calculated for 2001. The estimated murder rate, however, increased 4.1 percent from the 2001 rate to 5.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. (See Tables 3 and 4.)

Population Groups: Trends and Rates

The Nation's cities experienced a cumulative decline of 1.9 percent since 2001 in the number of violent crimes that occurred. Those cities with populations of 500,000 to 999,999 showed the greatest decline, 3.9 percent. The smallest decline was recorded by cities in the 50,000 to 99,999 population group range, 1.0 percent. In 2002, violent crimes decreased 1.2 percent in the Nation's rural counties from the 2001 estimate; however, suburban counties experienced a 1.0 percent increase. (See Table 12.)

Cities collectively had a rate of 624.6 violent crimes per 100,000 individuals. The violent crime rate in cities ranged from 326.5 in those with populations of 10,000 to 24,999 to 1,029.9 in those with populations in excess of 250,000. Rural counties had a rate of 232.2 violent crimes per 100,000 persons, and suburban counties had a rate of 352.1. (See Table 16.)

Weapons Distribution

The UCR Program collects data on the weapons used to commit murder, robbery, and aggravated assault. During 2002, hands, fists, feet, etc. were the predominant weapons used to commit these offenses. Such personal weapons were used in 31.2 percent of the violent crimes, firearms were involved in 26.8 percent, and knives or cutting instruments were used in 14.9 percent. Other types of weapons were used in 27.1 percent of these violent offenses. (Based on Tables 19 and 2.10.) The UCR Program does not collect data on weapons for the crime of forcible rape.


In the UCR Program, a crime is considered cleared when it is resolved either by arrest or by exceptional means, i.e., when some reason outside the control of law enforcement prevents the offender's arrest. In 2002, law enforcement cleared 46.8 percent of violent crime offenses. The highest percentage of clearances involved the crime of murder, 64.0 percent. Law enforcement cleared 56.5 percent of aggravated assaults, 44.5 percent of forcible rapes, and 25.7 percent of robberies. (See Table 25.)

A review of clearance data by population group indicated that the Nation's cities collectively cleared 44.5 percent of violent crimes, suburban counties cleared 54.0 percent, and rural counties cleared 61.4 percent of the violent crimes brought to the attention of law enforcement. Among cities, those under 10,000 in population cleared the greatest percentage of violent crimes, 58.9 percent. (See Table 25.) Regionally, the highest percentage of violent crime clearances for 2002 was reported by the Northeastern states, 52.2 percent. Law enforcement in the South cleared 47.2 percent of violent crimes; in the West, 46.0 percent; and in the Midwest, 42.9 percent of violent crimes. (See Table 26.)

Clearances and Juveniles

When an offender under the age of 18 is cited to appear in juvenile court or before other juvenile authorities, the UCR Program records that incident as cleared by arrest, even though a physical arrest may not have occurred. In addition, as defined by the Program, clearances involving both adult and juvenile offenders are classified as adult clearances.

Approximately 11.9 percent of violent crime clearances for 2002 involved only juvenile offenders. Of those crimes cleared by the Nation's cities, collectively, 12.1 percent involved only juveniles. In suburban counties, juvenile clearances accounted for 12.3 percent of the overall violent crime clearances, and in rural counties, juvenile clearances accounted for 9.6 percent of offenses cleared. (See Table 28.)


During 2002, law enforcement made an estimated 620,510 arrests for violent crimes. Approximately 76.1 percent of violent crime arrestees were charged with aggravated assault, 17.0 percent with robbery, 4.6 percent with forcible rape, and 2.3 percent with murder. The estimated number of arrests for violent crimes comprised 4.5 percent of all arrests nationally and 27.8 percent of the eight Part I offenses. (See Table 29 and Appendix II.)

For every 100,000 inhabitants, law enforcement effected 217.9 arrests for violent crime overall. A breakdown of violent crime arrests showed 4.9 arrests for murder, 9.8 arrests for forcible rape, 37.7 arrests for robbery, and 165.5 arrests for aggravated assault. (See Table 31.) An examination of the violent crime arrest rates for 2002 by city population size showed that the arrest rate in the Nation's cities ranged from 357.9 in cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants to 158.5 arrests per 100,000 inhabitants in cities with 10,000 to 24,999 residents. Suburban counties experienced a violent crime arrest rate of 168.7 arrests for every 100,000 persons, and rural counties a rate of 132.1 arrests. (See Table 31.)

Regionally, the Western states reported 275.6 violent crime arrests for each 100,000 inhabitants. The Southern states had a rate of 196.8 arrests; the Midwestern states, 193.5 arrests; and the Northeastern states, 188.9 violent crime arrests per 100,000 individuals. (See Table 30.)


Nationally, violent crime arrests were down 0.8 percent from the 2001 figure. The number of adults arrested for violent crimes decreased 0.4 percent, and the number of juveniles arrested decreased 3.0 percent from the 2001 number. (See Table 36.)

By gender, males made up 82.6 percent of violent crime arrestees. Females accounted for 10.8 percent of all murder arrestees, 1.4 percent of forcible rape arrestees, 10.3 percent of robbery arrestees, and 20.2 percent of aggravated assault arrestees. (See Table 42.)

A review of arrest data by race showed that whites made up 59.7 percent of all violent crime arrestees, with blacks comprising 38.0 percent, and other races, 2.3 percent. Fifty percent of the murder arrestees during 2002 were black, and 47.7 percent of arrestees were white. The remainder were individuals of other races. (See Table 43.)

By age, 43.7 percent of violent crime arrestees in 2002 were under the age of 25, and 14.9 percent were under age 18. (See Table 41.)

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Figure 2.5
Violent Crime

Percent Change from 1998
Violent Crime (Percent Change from 1998)



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Table 2.2

Violent Crime by Month

Percent Distribution, 1998-2002







January 8.4 8.2 7.9 7.7 7.9
February 7.2 7.1 7.2 6.7 6.7
March 8.1 7.9 8.1 7.9 7.9
April 8.0 8.1 8.1 8.1 8.1
May 8.7 8.8 8.9 8.7 8.7
June 8.5 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8
July 9.1 9.3 9.3 9.3 9.3
August 9.2 9.1 9.1 8.9 9.3
September 8.6 8.4 8.6 8.7 9.2
October 8.5 8.6 8.7 9.0 8.6
November 7.7 8.0 7.8 8.2 7.7
December 7.8 8.0 7.7 8.1 7.7



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1000 fold the child of perdition


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Modified Saturday, March 11, 2017

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