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STAR Objective Spotlight: HS-7: Safe Communities

Crime happens in every city and county in the United States. The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas was a tragedy, just as every crime is that takes a life, our liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. This month, STAR Communities is focusing on HS-7: Safe Communities. This objective includes outcomes for crime rates and school violence.

This past September, the FBI released the latest crime statistics report for 2016. The report includes violent and property crimes from more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States. Since 1930, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program has provided a national clearinghouse that sets consistent definitions for reporting offenses and arrests.

Nationally, the US violent crime rate in 2016 was 401.3 offenses per 100,000 persons. The violent crime rate is comprised of four types of offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter (5.4), rape and attempted rape (41.2), robbery (105.5), and aggravated assault (250.6). Based on the data, the highest collective violent crime rate (861.9) is in cities with populations of between 500,000 and 999,999 inhabitants. The lowest collective violent crime rate (200.6) is in Nonmetropolitan Counties.

Of the total murders in 2016, the data show that 73% were committed with firearms (handguns, rifles, shotguns, etc), 10.6% knives, 4.4% hands or body, and 12% other weapons. Of the total aggravated assaults in 2016, 25.8% involved firearms, 17.6% knives, 25% hands or body, and 31.5% other weapons.

Based on data from the 63 STAR Certified communities, most receive full or partial credit for achieving crime rates below the national thresholds. Many communities were not able to report on school violence incidents because of lack of consistent tracking of this data within school districts.

Despite this, the most commonly approve action in HS-7: Safe Communities was school-based violence prevention program. This was followed by violence intervention programs and community perception of safety surveys. The actions most frequently denied or skipped included having a comprehensive safe communities strategic plan and performing ongoing data collection as a cooperative effort between multiple agencies to identify emerging community needs.

Communities can find their information using the 2016 Crime in the United States tables (Select Violent Crime, then Cities: Table 6; Counties: Table 8. Select Property Crime, then Cities: Table 6; Counties: Table 8.) In addition to violent crime, users can find information in property crimes, arrests, and hate crime statistics. In addition, the FBI has committed to creating a database to collect law enforcement use-of-force statistics. Read the Message from the FBI Director.

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