FBI: Violent crime, murder, on the rise for the second straight year

Violent crime in America increased for the second straight year in 2016, according to the FBI’s annual crime report released Monday.

The estimated number of violent crimes across the country rose by 4.1 percent last year compared to the year before. According to the 2016 Crime in the United States report, murder and negligent manslaughter rose by 8.6 percent in the same time period.

As estimated 10.7 million arrests were made last year, according to the data. More than 156,000 people were arrested for weapons violations, and nearly 12,000 people were arrested for murder. The estimates come from data submitted by 16,782 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

There were an estimated 17,250 murders nationwide last year, up from 15,883 in 2015. Guns are increasingly the weapon used to commit murders in America, according to the data. In 2014, guns were used in 67.7 percent of murders nationwide, where data was available and submitted. In 2015, it rose to 71.1 percent. Last year, 73 percent of murders committed were done so with a firearm.

Justifiable homicide, defined as “the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty” was down last year compared to 2015. There were 435 justifiable killings in 2016 compared to 459 the year before.

Justifiable homicide committed by private citizens also declined slightly. Defined as “the killing of a felon during the commission of a felony,” there were 331 such homicides last year, compared to 338 in 2015.

Handguns were overwhelmingly the firearm of choice in all murders carried out with guns, the data shows. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the country needs to work together to “turn back the rising tide of violent crime.”

“The Department of Justice is committed to working with our state, local, and tribal partners across the country to deter violent crime, dismantle criminal organizations and gangs, stop the scourge of drug trafficking, and send a strong message to criminals that we will not surrender our communities to lawlessness and violence,” Sessions said in a press release.

Rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults also increased nationwide last year. But it’s not all bad news. Property crimes in 2016 were down more than one percent, marking the 14th consecutive year that figured declined. Still, there were an estimated 7,919,035 property crimes in 2016, costing victims roughly $15.6 billion.

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