50 Year Trends in Violent Crime in the US - FBI Statistics

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Not too long ago the FBI, or more precisely Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), have released a searchable database tool where the user can input particular crimes, at particular areas in the US and over certain time periods. This is a very useful tool, particularly if you live in the US. This tool enables you to drill down into the specifics of violent crime for YOUR state.

What I have done in this article is just showcase some 50 year trends in crime in the US by using some simple charts where the figures were generated by the UCR database tool. The above chart showcases the total number of violent crimes in the US from 1960 to 2009 and the overall trends throughout. This chart allows us to see that overall, violent crime peaked in 1992 with 1,932,274 total number of violent crimes reported in that year. From the figures obtained from the UCR database, we can learn that from 1960 to 2009, there have been a total number of 59, 307, 925 violent crimes reported in the US.

Below you will find each type of crime singled out and displayed in charts for ease of comprehension. Some interesting observations can be made from these... Each chart shows the 50 year trends from the US. where Aggravated Assault, Robbery, Larceny/Theft, Murder/Manslaughter and Property Crime are showcased.

Aggravated Assault


The assault statistics over the 50 years follows similar trends as the overall violent crime numbers. The numbers peaked at about the early to mid 1990's at over 1 million incidents. Aggravated Assault is the largest sector of violent crime. This is due to most incidents being related to social or group activities where posturing and other types of Alpha Male activity occur. Fights are normally the outcome of such behaviour and this in crime/legal terms is Aggravated Assault.

What is interesting is that the Assaults trended smoothly up, building to the peak in the 90's. I have not done the research, but this climb is probably related to an increase in population. Take note of the overall shape of the graph and the smooth climb up. This will become important as you progress through...



For the robbery trends, they also peaked around the early 90's to just under 700,000 in that year. This chart highlights the more volatile nature of the overall trends for robbery. From that peak in the early 90's the drop has been quite severe with overall Robbery numbers dropping dramatically to almost half of what they were 8 yrs after the peak.

There are more noticeable rises and falls than the smooth trends seen with Assault. Instead of the smooth climb seen in assault trends, we can see 3 clear high spots. This is different from the assault trends. Also remember the characteristics of this chart as you go through the remaining areas. Patterns will begin to emerge and insights gained...



The murder/Non Negligent Manslaughter numbers are much lower than robbery for example but again the figures show similar trends over time.

This chart looks much more similar to the robbery chart than the assault chart. There are three clear high spots as there were in the robbery chart. I do not believe this is a co-incidence. The underlying nature of Robbery and Murder is similar. They are both Predatory type behaviours. It is only natural that the trends would be similar between these two types of violent crime. As I first saw these similarities, I was surprised as I was not looking for them.

Forcible Rape


The overall numbers of Forcible Rape also peaked in the early 90's at about 110,000 however the drop in numbers has not been as significant as Robbery for example. I am not an expert in rape so will not pretend to be one here.

The main thing I note is that this chart follows similar trends to the assault chart. Perhaps this is an indication that rape is tied to an underlying social/alpha male type activity from the perpetrators. I would like to hear from people more experienced in this matter comment on this observation.

Property Crime


Property Crime numbers show a similar overall trend over the 50 years. Again, numbers peak in the early 90's at about 13 million incidents nationwide in the US. Even though the trend is for a lowering of the number of Property Crimes reported each year, the number is still the highest of all seen here.

Although it is an overall fatter chart, the trends seem to be more along the lines of Robbery and Murder. There are three high spots here as well although they are less defined. Again, this seems to indicate that Property Crimes are more Predatory in nature. This is in line with the entire concept of the Alpha Male and Predatory behaviour model of human combative behaviour.



The Larceny/Theft numbers although quite high with a current number of just under 6,750,000, are following the same trends as all of the crimes showcased here with a peak period around the early 90's. This chart does seem to contain elements of both the Alpha Male and the Predatory trends seen in the previous examples.

Perhaps the Alpha Male and Predatory model is most relavent to actual combative behaviour and not so much for other non-violent crime types and social behaviour. This could also be why the property trends are less distinct.


Writing and developing this post I had no idea I would identify these patterns in the charts. My intent was just to highlight the UCR database tool and throw up some charts. I thought there would be much more variation in each of the charts.

I am surprised the relationship between different types of human combative behaviour emerged through these charts which showcase trends over 50 years. Perhaps I am looking into them too hard? Do I have a preconceived notion and am looking for evidence of it everywhere? I doubt it but I am always mindful of such things. Perhaps I am not looking at them hard enough. A technical share trader examines share charts in fine detail and makes assessments on all sorts of patterns.

The one thing which is common throughout ALL of the charts is the drop off in the early 90's. I am not from the US and suspect the best way to understand this is to ask an American. Why do you think the changes occurred in the early 90's? Was legislation changed at that time? Were laws changed? This is the main reason I suspect but it is a total guess on my part.

An answer or some suggestions would be interesting to know. Let everyone know in the comments below. Are there any surprises here? Anything I missed?

Header image via widdowquinn