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Crime rate drops in US and Ohio

Crime rates are steadily declining nationwide, according to the Uniform Crime Report, distributed annually by the FBI. Ohio, and more specifically, Columbus’ crime numbers for 2009 showed a decrease in crime rates from 2008.

The 2010 national data, released Monday, indicated a 6 percent decrease in the violent crime rate and a drop of 2.7 percent in the property crime rate in the United States from 2009.

The information more specifically showed that crime rates have slightly decreased from 2008 to 2009 in both the city of Columbus and the state of Ohio.

Deputy Chief of Ohio State University Police Richard Morman said the department reports its figures two ways.

“We automatically report into a system called Ohio Incident-Based Reporting System, which is incorporated into the National Incident-Based Reporting System,” Morman said. “That is where UCR gets our information.”


Morman said the department also assembles its data in compliance with the Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities to report crime on and adjacent to their campuses.

For example, since the beginning of the year, there have been 37 incident reports involving assault on OSU’s campus, according to the OSU police department crime log. From Jan. 1, 2010, to Sept. 20, 2010, there were 36 incident reports involving assault on OSU’s campus from the same database.

“Because (our data) contains different kinds of crimes like breaking and entering, it tends to be a little bit skewed from the UCR data,” Morman said.

On Aug. 3, Columbus and OSU Police arrested and charged a man in connection with abduction attempts at knifepoint near Cannon Drive. No injuries were reported.

In Columbus in 2009, there were 5,340 violent crime reports, which is a decrease from 5,854 violent crime reports in 2008. In 2009, there were 48,813 property crimes reported, which is an increase from 48,563 in 2008, in Columbus. However, the population in 2009 increased by 7,504 people; therefore, property crimes per 100,000 decreased from 6,458.8 in 2008 to 6,427.9 in 2009, all according to the UCR.

The 2010 data for specific states and agencies is not yet available.

The UCR is a compilation of data collected by the FBI from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Every law enforcement agency is responsible for reporting a data set annually, which is how the crime rate is established every year.

The UCR contains figures for two types of crime: violent crime and property crime. Violent crimes include: Murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Property crime measures numbers for: Burglary, larceny theft, motor-vehicle theft and arson.

The 2010 UCR collected data reported by more than 18,000 city, county, university and college, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies.

Columbus Police Department Sergeant Richard Weiner said the department uses the UCR to gauge crime on a national level.

“We have a team of crime analysts who look at every single crime that is reported and look for trends,” Weiner said. “From there we go about controlling crime by where we see geographically and when it occurs most in the city.”

Weiner said that crime analysts do pay close attention to the UCR and use it to help establish trends in Columbus.

“We have been able to control crime these past few years by sending officers to the spots where crime is heavy,” he said. “For instance, say there is a reoccurrence of motor vehicle theft between 8 p.m. and midnight in a specific neighborhood. We send cars to patrol those areas heavily and we tend to see a reduction.”

The 2010 UCR data set will be the fourth consecutive where the volume of violent crime has decreased and the eighth consecutive year in which property crimes have declined.

The information revealed the most common violent crime to be aggravated assault, totaling 62.5 percent of all violent crimes in 2010. The most common property crime reported was larceny-theft, a sum of 68.2 percent of all property crimes during 2010.

However, the report comes with caveats from the FBI concerning how users apply the newly uncovered statistics.

According to the press release, the FBI “cautions against drawing any kind of conclusions from the report by making direct comparisons between cities.”

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