The number of violent crimes reported by 12,500 U.S. law enforcement agencies fell 6.4 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same time in 2010, the FBI reports.
And in its Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report the bureau also says that property crimes were down 3.7 percent.
As the report says, "the violent crime category includes murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. ... Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Arson is also a property crime, but data for arson are not included in property crime totals. Figures for 2011 indicate that arson decreased 8.6 percent when compared to 2010 figures from the same time period."
By types of crime:
-- Murder was down 5.7 percent.
-- Rape was down 5.1 percent.
-- Robbery fell 7.7 percent.
-- Aggravated assault declined 5.9 percent.
-- Burglary fell 2.2 percent.
-- "Larceny-theft" was down 4 percent.
-- Motor vehicle theft declined 5 percent.
-- Arson fell 8.6 percent.
Note: these are "offenses known to law enforcement."
FBI data and other measures have shown a steady decline in reported crimes since the mid-1990s. Among the reasons experts have cited: tougher laws, better policing and an aging population.