A new statistical report from the federal government says that violent crime is surging for the second straight year while firearm violence remains essentially at the same level as it was in 2003.
The data could undercut Barack Obama’s ongoing campaign to control guns.
As recently as a few days ago, he said at a memorial service for victims of a crazed killer at the Washington Navy Yard that there ought to be some sort of mass weapons restriction imposed across the United States as in other countries.
“If we really want to honor these 12 men and woman, if we really want to be a country where we can go to work, go to school and walk our streets free from senseless violence without so many lives being stolen with a bullet from a gun, then we’re going to have to change,” he said.
The report, called “Criminal Victimization, 2012,” was released by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.
It said there “was no measurable change in the rate of firearm violence from 2011 to 2013 and from 2003 to 2013.”
“In 2012, firearms were used in about seven percent of all violent crime incidents. This percentage has been relatively stable over the past decade. In 2012, about 66 percent of all serious violent crimes that involved a firearm were reported to police. There was no measurable change in the rates of firearm violence reported and not reported to police from 2011 to 2012.”
An accompanying table said there were 460,720 “firearm victimizations” in 2012, down from 467,930 in 2011 and even down from the 467,350 in 2003.
The report, however, showed that the rate of violent crime increased from 22.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 and older in 2011 to 26.1 in 2012.
The report is based on interviews with 92,390 households and 162,940 people in 2012.
It says the rate of property crime rose from 138.7 per 1,000 households in 2011 to 155.8 in 2012.
While violent crime rates rose for blacks, they remained stable for whites and Hispanics.
Residents in urban areas continued to experience the highest rate of violent crime, and residents in the West had higher rates of violent victimization than residents in other regions of the country.
The report is the largest data collection on criminal victimization independent of crimes reported by law enforcement agencies to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the nation’s other key measure of the extent and nature of crime in the U.S.
Other findings in the report:
- Rape and sexual assault reports surged from 244,190 in 2011 to 346,830 in 2012.
- Robberies rocketed from 557,260 to 741,760.
- Simple assaults soared from 3.9 million to 4.7 million.
- Domestic violent actually dropped from 1.3 million to 1.26 million.
- Serious violent crimes involving all weapons – not just guns – rose from 1.2 million to 1.4 million but still remained below the level of 1.7 million from 2003.
The report said the majority of the increase in property crime involved thefts.
“The rate of theft victimization increased from 104.2 per 1,000 households in 2011 to 120.9 in 2012, while no measurable change occurred in the rates of burglary and motor vehicle theft during the same period.”
The report said that from 1993 to 2012, overall violent victimization declined from a rate of 79.8 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older to 26.1 per 1,000.
“All types of violent crime (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault) declined during this period. … While the rates of violent victimization have changed over time, the general composition of violent victimization has remained relatively stable.”