U.S. Homicides at Lowest Rate in 40 Years

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(Courtesy of UPI.com)

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) — The U.S. homicide rate dropped to 4.8 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2010, its lowest level in four decades, government officials say.

A report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, said much of the decline in homicide was in the nation’s largest cities — those with a population of 1 million or more — where the homicide rate dropped dramatically from 35.5 homicides per 100,000 U.S. residents in 1991 to a low of 11.9 per 100,000 in 2008.

“The sharp increase in homicides from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, and much of the subsequent decline, is attributable to gun violence by teens ages 14-17 and young adults ages 18-24,” the report said. “Despite the recent decline, the number of gun homicides committed by teens and young adults in 2008 remained similar to the counts of the mid-1980s.”

From 1980 through 2008, 84 percent of white homicide victims were murdered by whites and 93 percent of black victims were murdered by blacks, but during this same period, blacks were disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders, officials said.

A recent Gallup Poll found despite a sharp decline in the U.S. violent-crime rate, the majority of Americans believe the nation’s crime problem is getting worse — as they have for most of the past decade. Currently, 68 percent said there is more crime in the United States than there was a year ago, 17 percent said less and 8 percent said crime was unchanged, the Gallup Poll found.

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