The FBI has released its Uniform Crime Reports for 2011. In general, the picture is good, as crime rates continue to fall in cities across the United States. Violent crime dropped 4 percent in 2011, compared to a 5.5 percent drop in 2010. Nationally, homicides fell 1.9 percent from the number in 2010. Robbery, forcible rape and assault also fell – 4 percent each.
There are some cities that exhibited upticks in crime. Little Rock, where I was born and raised, was cited as the sixth most violent crime of the cities with population exceeding 100,000. (No cities served by Professional Security and Centurion Security were included in the FBI analytical studies.)
Arkansas’ largest city had a violent crime rate of 14.9 per 1,000 residents, with 37 homicides (up from 25 in 2010). Property crimes were down, but forcible rate showed an increase, contrary to the national picture.
There will be rebuttals and hand-wringing to follow, as there usually is when a city – like Little Rock – doesn’t fare well in the FBI figures. Sometimes, the blame is shifted to police manpower or drugs or localized economic problems. Officially, the FBI warns against using its Uniform Crime Reports for comparing metropolitan areas.
I have family and friends still living in Little Rock, and I visit occasionally. So I’m interested from an inside and outside perspective about what happens in neighborhoods and downtown areas. It’s not the city where I grew up, but no one can stop change. The real story here is it doesn’t matter where you are, you can be exposed to crime. Improve your chances of not being a statistic by knowing the bad areas, and being alert to danger where ever you live and travel. (TDH)