WASHINGTON – The nation's murder rate jumped 2 percent during the first six months of this year, with the highest increases in small towns and the Midwest, the FBI said Monday. Crime fell nationwide for other significant offenses, including rape, arson and assault.
After a dramatic decline in the number of murders last year, when the murder rate fell 5.7 percent, it ticked upward 2.1 percent between January and June. Citing figures collected under its uniform crime reports, the FBI said cities with fewer than 10,000 people saw the largest increases, of 13 percent.
Murder rates rose across the country, but the Midwest saw the highest increases with 4.9 percent. Kansas City, for example, reported 56 murders in the six months of this year but only 39 during the same time period in 2004.
The FBI did not disclose its raw crime counts for all communities because it considers these six-month reports to be preliminary. But for all cities with more than 100,000 people, it reported 4,080 murders in 2005 and 3,979 in 2004.
Glendale, Calif., saw its murder rate spike dramatically by 1,300 percent because of a single crime: A suicidal man parked his SUV on railroad tracks in January and caused two commuter trains to crash, killing 11 people. Those victims accounted for nearly all Glendale's 14 deaths classified as murders.
The FBI said rapes nationwide fell nearly 5 percent, and arson crimes fell nearly 6 percent. Property crimes -- which include burglary, larceny and vehicle thefts -- declined overall 2.8 percent.
Assault fell just under 1 percent.
The FBI based its figures on crime reports from 10,374 police agencies around the country.