26 May 2010

US crime rates down

6:02 am on 26 May 2010

FBI statistics show that crime rates have fallen for the third consecutive year in the United States.

The data upends historical trends which suggests that crime rates increase during economic downturns.

Criminologists attribute the unusual decline to better policing and security technology, and programmes targeting repeat offenders and vulnerable youths.

Car thefts have fallen the most this year - 17.2% - while murders are down 7.2%.

Reported rapes also fell 3.1% and robberies are down 8.1%. Arson, assault and property crime have also declined.

New York City had the highest number of murders, followed by Chicago.

New Orleans, St Louis, Detroit and Baltimore fare poorly on a per capita basis.

The BBC reports the recession has not prompted the increase in drug activity seen in previous downturns, such as a "crack" cocaine epidemic that began in the late 80s.