The Bush Administration must be really pleased at the announcement that Karl Rove will not be indicted. Aside from the general celebration, the news media may spend less time on the report issued Monday by the FBI. Violent crime in America increased at the highest rate in 15 years during 2005. WaPo does report the analysis and stats in a front page article today.
Richard A. Hertling, a principal deputy assistant attorney general, said the FBI statistics are “a yellow flag” but do not represent a trend, in part because the numbers are preliminary and do not include full reports from all jurisdictions.
The FBI’s preliminary annual crime report showed an overall jump of 2.5 percent for violent offenses, including increases in homicide, robbery and assault. It was the first rise of any note since 2001, and rape was the only category in which the number of crimes declined.
The FBI statistics are taken from reports submitted by more than 12,000 police departments and other law enforcement agencies nationwide. A final report, including more detailed statistics and reports from a larger number of police agencies, will be issued in the fall. Government officials and criminal justice experts said trends in the FBI’s final reports usually do not differ widely from conclusions in the preliminary studies.
The rise in violent offenses nationally represents the largest overall crime increase since 1991. Violent crime peaked in 1992, before beginning to plummet to its lowest levels in three decades.
Criminal justice experts said there were a number of possible explanations for the increase, including an influx of gangs into medium-size cities and a predicted surge in the number of inmates released from U.S. prisons. The jump could also represent a lingering effect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, some experts said, because governments at all levels have diverted resources away from traditional crime fighting in favor of anti-terrorism and homeland security programs.
James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University in Boston, [noted] Lawmakers and the Bush administration have cut back many law enforcement programs popular during the 1990s.
“We have to worry about not just homeland security but also hometown security,” Fox said. “High-crime areas have been relatively ignored over the last five years so we can deploy officers to fight terrorism.”
Local communities are spending their own money on homeland security? The law enforcement programs have also lost funding. So we are fighting terrorism in Iraq and our own criminals here. How many of the National Guard and Reserves are first responders in their own community? And Rove will not be losing his job. It will be interesting if the final report in the fall does differ significantly from this preliminary release. Another first for the Bush Administration.
That is today’s Citizen (in)Security Briefing.