(NEXSTAR) – A massive data dump of 11 million criminal offenses reported to the FBI paints a complicated picture of crime in the United States. The data, released Monday, shows that while violent crime dropped nationwide in 2022, property crime jumped.
The FBI relies on reporting by local law enforcement agencies to compile its report on the state of crime around the country. The agency estimates its data covers about 94% of the population.
In 2022, violent crime overall, which includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, dropped modestly. Violent crime was 1.7% lower in 2022 than in 2021, the FBI said.
The drop brings violent violent crime back to pre-pandemic levels, though not as low as it was between 2013 and 2015.
Violent crime rate in the U.S.
The murder rate, in particular, dropped significantly. It saw a 6.1% decline between 2021 and 2022.
The murder rate in the U.S. jumped 29% during the pandemic, which created huge social disruption and upended support systems.
Richard Rosenfeld, criminal justice professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said the drop in violence can be attributed largely to the fact that the “stresses and strains” associated with the pandemic have abated.
“By and large what we’re seeing is simply a return to something approaching normal after the big changes associated with the pandemic,” Rosenfeld said.
Violent crime overall remains far lower than the historic highs of the 1990s.
Homicide rate in the U.S.
But on the flip side, property crimes actually rose 7.1% in 2022 after years of decline. A large jump in motor vehicle theft contributed to the rise in reported property crimes.
The FBI said carjackings increased 8.1% from 2021, and the vast majority of carjackings involved an assailant with a weapon. Someone was injured in more than a quarter of all carjackings.
Burglary, larceny, and arson also count as property crimes.
Property crime rate in the U.S.
The FBI is also increasingly tracking hate crimes, with more local law enforcement agencies reporting crimes that are motivated by bias. Last year, the FBI said it received more than 11,000 reports of hate crimes from around the country. Victims of these crimes were most frequently targeted for their race or ethnicity, followed by religion and then sexual orientation.
The most common type in each category were anti-Black hate crimes (for race/ethnicity), anti-Jewish crimes (for religion), and anti-gay male crimes (for sexual orientation).
Though crime data for 2023 won’t be available from the FBI until late next year, experts expect the drop in violent crime to continue. A report released in July by nonpartisan think tank the Council on Criminal Justice used data from 37 surveyed cities. It found that murders dropped 9.4% in the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022, but vehicle thefts rose a whopping 33.5%.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.