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Violent crime in the US plummeted in first months of 2024, FBI data reveals

Violent crime in the US dropped by 15% in the first three months of the year, new figures have shown, the latest evidence in a broader decline of crime across the country that has occurred over the past year.

The decrease in violent crime, from January to March compared to the same period in 2023, has been accompanied by a major drop in murders and reported rapes, which both fell by more than a quarter in the first three months of 2024, according to the new quarterly data released by the FBI.

Aggravated assaults fell by 12.5% in this period, while robberies dropped by 17.8%, the figures – gathered from more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies across the US – show.

Crime is a major priority for American voters, with many believing the crime rate is much higher than it actually is, polling has shown. Donald Trump has attempted to play into such fears, saying, misleadingly, at a recent rally that “crime is rampant and out of control, like never before”, with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee vowing to crack down on criminal gangs.

The former president has also claimed that Washington DC is a “nightmare of murder and crime” and that in New York City “you go right outside and people are being mugged and killed all day long”.

However, a slew of statistics have pointed to a significant decline in crime over the past year, something that Joe Biden has sought to take credit for, boasting of a record drop in crime during his presidency. “This progress we’re seeing is no accident,” the incumbent president and presumptive Democratic nominee for November’s election said in a recent statement.

“My administration is putting more cops on the beat, holding violent criminals accountable, and getting illegal guns off the street – and we are doing it in partnership with communities. As a result, Americans are safer today than when I took office.”

The Biden re-election campaign has attempted to turn the tables on Trump over the issue of crime, noting that the former president is now a convicted felon himself after being found guilty of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments delivered to adult film actor Stormy Daniels. “This November, Americans will vote on the side of law and order – not for a felon who looks out for his fellow crooks,” Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said.

Merrick Garland, the US attorney general, said that there was a surge in violent crime in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic which has now been largely tamed by targeting gun crime and hiring new police officers.

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“This continued historic decline in homicides does not represent abstract statistics,” he said.

“It represents people whose lives were saved – people who are still here to see their children grow up, to work toward fulfilling their dreams, and to contribute to their communities. Our work will not be done until all Americans feel safe in their communities.”

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