Key takeaways from FBI's annual crime statistics report

Annual crime statistics recently shared by the FBI showed that U.S. homicides and other violent crimes fell last year, but property crimes – including motor vehicle thefts – jumped.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the agency’s most recent crime report:

Violent crime falls to pre-pandemic levels

Violent crime dropped 1.7%, and that included a 6.1% decrease in murder and non-negligent manslaughter, according to the FBI data. 

Rape decreased 5.4% and aggravated assault dropped 1.1%, but robbery increased 1.3%. 

Violent crime had also decreased slightly in 2021, a big turnaround from 2020, when the murder rate in the U.S. jumped 29% during the pandemic that created huge social disruption and upended support systems.

The violent crime rate of 380.7 per 100,000 people was a tick better than 2019 — the year before the pandemic hit the U.S., when the rate was 380.8 per 100,000 people.

Homicides still above pre-pandemic levels


FILE - Photo of Suffolk County Police blocking off Omega Self Storage at 491 Broadway in Amityville, New York, on July 17, 2023. (Photo by James Carbone/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

While the rate of homicides dropped about 6% from 2021, the figure was still higher than it was before the pandemic. 

The findings were similar to a report released earlier this year by the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice, which similarly indicated that homicides were declining in a cross-section of American cities.

Homicides on average dropped 9.4% during the first half of 2023 as compared to the same period last year, the Council on Criminal Justice found in its July report. But the numbers remained about 24% higher than they were in 2019, and motor vehicle thefts were also up sharply in the 37 cities analyzed of varying sizes around the country. 

Property crimes, including motor vehicle thefts, on the rise

Despite the waning violence, property crimes jumped 7.1%, with motor vehicle thefts showing the biggest increase at 10.9%. 

The FBI pegged the total number of cars stolen last year at "nearly a million." 

The FBI said carjackings increased 8.1% from 2021, with the vast majority of carjackings involving an assailant with a weapon. Someone was injured in more than a quarter of all carjackings.

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Meanwhile, separate reports have previously suggested some vehicle models are more popular targets of theft than others


FILE - The broken window of a rental car is seen on September 12, 2023, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Liu Guanguan/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

In April, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) identified the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat as the car in the model years 2020-2022 having the highest relative claim frequency for theft. The top-five also had the Dodge Charger HEMI, the Infiniti Q50 4dr, the Dodge Challenger and the Land Rover Range Rover 4dr 4WD, according to the HLDI report.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), meanwhile, said in July that the three models favored by thieves in 2022 were the full-sized Chevrolet Pickup, the full-sized Ford Pickup and the Honda Civic. For those, the most frequently taken model years were 2004, 2006 and 2000, respectively, according to the group. 

FBI crime data report uses change in collection methods


FILE - An FBI agent joins police on the perimeter of a search zone for an escaped prisoner on September 8, 2023, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While some law enforcement agencies failed to provide data for this year’s FBI report, a change in collection methods in compiling 2022 numbers helped.

Nearly two-fifths of all policing agencies failed to participate in last year's report, including big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami. That followed a major overhaul in the reporting system.

For this year's report, the FBI used data voluntarily collected from agencies using the newer National Incident-Based Reporting System, but also included data from agencies still using an older system, known as the Summary Reporting System. 

That accounted, in part, for the huge increase in participating agencies.

The FBI said the new data represented 83.3% of all agencies covering 93.5% of the population. By contrast, last year's numbers were from only 62.7% of agencies, representing 64.8% of Americans.

The overhaul will eventually make crime data more modern and detailed, federal officials said, but the switchover can be complicated for police departments. 

While the increase in 2022 participation was due in part to inclusion of Summary Reporting System data, the FBI noted that an additional 1,499 agencies submitted data through NIBRS.

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This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press and FOX Business contributed.