Violent crime dropped in 2011, but murders in small towns spiked, FBI says

Violent crime dropped in 2011, preliminary figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday show.

According to the FBI's "Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report," violent crimes fell 4 percent nationwide, part of a decade-plus decline in that category.

Murder was down about 2 percent, according to the FBI, while forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault all fell 4.0 percent when compared to 2010. But in towns with populations of less than 10,000, there was an 18.3 percent increase in murder in 2011. There was also a 0.6 percent increase in murder in the Midwest.

The FBI did not give reasons for the trends.

Property crimes declined about 1 percent. Arsonwhich is considered a property crime though counted separatelyfell 5 percent, the FBI said. The only overall rise in property crimes was burglary, which was up marginally.

Data for the report is collected by the bureau from participating state and federal law enforcement agencies. Final figures will be published this fall.

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