WASHINGTON – Big-city murders rose sharply in 2006 as violent crime increased nationally for the second straight year, the FBI reported Monday.
Homicides committed in small towns and midsize cities took a dramatic downswing – resulting in an overall 0.3 percent increase in the murder rate across the country, the new preliminary data show.
Year-end totals for murders rose in eight of the nation’s 10 largest cities: Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego. That contributed to a 6.7 percent murder rate increase in cities with populations over 1 million people.
The murder rate dropped in two other big cities, Dallas and Los Angeles. And it plummeted by an overall 11.9 percent in smaller cities, towns and rural areas, the data show.
The growing homicide numbers contributed to an overall 1.3 percent hike in violent crime nationwide in 2006. A year earlier, violent crime rose by 2.3 percent, the first increase since 2001.
The FBI report, compiled with data from more than 11,700 law enforcement agencies nationwide, also showed:
“Robberies spiked by 6 percent, the highest increase in any category of crime surveyed.
“Property crimes decreased overall by 2.9 percent from 2005. Burglaries, however, rose slightly.
“Violent crime rose in every region of the country except for the Northeast, the FBI reported. Western states saw the largest jump in violent crime, by 2.8 percent.