What is law enforcement reporting about home invasions?

Filed under: Background,Law Enforcement |

“Home invasions have been on the upswing over the last 15 years, as surveillance technology has increased break-in risks at convenience stores, gas stations, etc.”

These were the words found in a 1995 article printed in The bNet blog hosted by Harvard University’s Business School. The article was prompted by an FBI-issued  bulletin about HIR (Home Invasion Robbery) in 1995.

The bNet blog wrote about the topic at length, acknowledging that, “Within the criminal justice community, considerable confusion still surrounds this relatively new crime phenomenon. Attempts to introduce the concept of home invasion robbery into the bureaucratic mainstream of the criminal justice system have failed to clarify the issue, primarily because of inevitable comparisons to the crime of burglary. This confusion often compromises statistical analyses and makes historical data collection nearly impossible because many incidents of HIR routinely are misclassified as burglaries.”

Things were getting worse in many major cities 10 years later in 2006, according to this February 12, 2006, report in the New York Times.

Now read this headline  from an Austin, TX newspaper: Austin Violent Crime Hits A Six-Year High. That headline was 16 years later, on March 4, 2011.

It may seem to many of us that violent crime has been on a steady uptick since at least 1995. With the American economy in collapse since early 2008 and the new underclass of “permanently unemployed” growing, shouldn’t violent crime be increasing?

Until 2012, that hadn’t happened. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report tabulates all reported crime nationally annually. A preliminary report covering the first half of 2011 indicated total violent crime was still going down, having falling about about 4 percent in 2011. The most recent Preliminary SemiAnnualUniform Crime Report for 2012 released on January 14, however, paints a very different picture. “Statistics released today in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report indicate that the number of violent crimes reported in the first six months of 2012 increased 1.9 percent when compared with figures from the first six months of 2011. The number of property crimes increased 1.5 percent for the same time frame. The report is based on information from more than 13,300 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six comparable months of data to the FBI in the first six months of 2011 and 2012.”

A number of articles published in major news outlets have reported the statistical increase in 2012, particularly as related to violent crime:

USAToday: The violent crime rate went up 17% last year, ending a general decline in violence that began nearly 20 years ago, according to a new federal survey of crime victims … The Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey also found an 11% increase in the rate of property crimes, including household burglaries and car theft.

Fox News: Violent crimes unexpectedly jumped 18 percent last year, the first rise in nearly 20 years, and property crimes rose for first time in a decade. But academic experts said the new government data fall short of signaling a reversal of the long decline in crime.

Daily Mail (UK):

For the first time in 20 years, the number of violent crimes increased, up 18 percent from last year, a new report reveals … It was the first year-to-year increase for violent crime since 1993, marking the end of a long string of declines. Violent crime fell by 65 percent since 1993, from 16.8 million to 5.8 million last year.

In addition, household burglaries rose 14 percent, from 3.2million to 3.6million. Similarly, the number of thefts jumped by 10 percent, from 11.6 million to 12.8 million.

New York Times:

The rate of U.S. violent crime went up last year for the first time in nearly two decades due to a jump in assaults, the Justice Department said on Wednesday … Data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in telephone surveys showed a 22 percent increase in assaults, pushing up the overall rate for violent crime for the first time since 1993.

CNN:  The rate of U.S. violent crime went up last year for the first time in nearly two decades due to a jump in assaults, the Justice Department said on Wednesday … Data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in telephone surveys showed a 22 percent increase in assaults, pushing up the overall rate for violent crime for the first time since 1993.

 

 

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