Violent crime in the United States declined 12.4 percent between 1994 and 1995, continuing the generally downward trend that began in 1992, according to a survey released Sunday by the Justice Department.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported this was the largest yearly decline since it began the National Crime Victimization Survey in 1973.
The survey is based on interviews with 100,000 people 12 years or older about their experiences with both personal and property crimes during the previous six months. It includes crimes reported to police as well and those that went unreported.
Personal crimes include the violent offenses of rape, sexual assault, robbery, simple and aggravated assault and personal theft.
“These statistics show that we can make a difference in our efforts to combat crime,” Attorney General Janet Reno said in statement, crediting the Clinton administration’s crime legislation for the recent drop.
Overall, personal crime dropped 13 percent from 53.1 to 42.6 victimizations per 1,000 people. At the same time, crimes of violence declined 12.4 percent from 50.8 to 44.5 people per 1,000. Property crime, meanwhile, was down 9.1 percent from a rate of 307.6 to 279.5 households per thousand.
Among the specific declines reported in the survey of personal crimes since 1994: rape and sexual assault, 20 percent; aggravated assault, 24 percent; and personal theft, 26.1 percent.
The victimization rates fell in all categories of property crime, with significant drops in burglary, 12.9 percent, and household theft, 8.4 percent.
The survey also tracked crime by sex, household income, race, age and place of residence. Among the highlights:
The rate for male victims fell 10.7 percent to 53.2 per 1,000; the rate for female victims dropped by 14.4 percent to 36.4 per thousand. The rate of rape and sexual assault for females dropped 24.3 percent to 2.8 victims per thousand.
Except for households earning $75,000 a year, all income groups reported a significant decline in overall property victimization rates.
Violent crime declined 12.8 percent among whites, while the rate for blacks was down 10.4 percent.
Declines in victimization rates varied in age groups, with the steepest drop of 30.6 percent reported among 12-to 15-year-olds.
The sharpest declines in violent crime victimization occurred in the suburbs, with a 15.1 percent decline to 42.1 victims per thousand. Urban areas had a 10.7 percent decline to 56.8 victims per thousand. In rural areas the decline was 11 percent, to 34.9 victims per thousand.
Regionally, all areas of the country showed declines in the victimization rates for violent and property crimes: the Northeast, from 42.7 victims per thousand to 41.1; the Midwest, from 55.4 victims per thousand to 46.7 victims; the South, from 45.2 victims per thousand to 39.6; the West, from 73.5 victims per thousand to 61.5.