2016 Mid-Year FBI UCR Crimes by Population Size

2016 mid year UCR Agencies Actual Populations Served. Infographic by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be reproduced by attribution.

Since 1930, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been collecting and publishing crime data in the United States. The project was initially conceived by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and has proved to be a vital asset for anyone studying crime and criminal justice. A report listing several major crimes is provided each year and at times, the FBI has issued special reports as the need arises.

2016 was an unusual year for the Uniform Crime Report. The FBI issued the report earlier than usual and then it only provided mid-year data spanning January to June. Why?

After issuing the 2016 UCR, the FBI announced it was completing an overhaul of the system. For three decades, the agency employed a system which, though providing data much quicker than in decades preceding, is now out of date. The agency stated that by the new system would be functional by February 2017 but for a time would operate alongside the older system.

The FBI stated that the new UCR system will provide

  • enhanced data management tools
  • greater efficiency in data collection
  • improved processing and maintenance of crime data
  • automation of data and tools
  • tailored reports
  • streamlined publication
  • quicker access to data

In other words, the FBI is entering the 21st Century…at least as far as Data collection and dissemination. This is a mixed blessing.

For anyone used to downloading the spreadsheets and manipulating the data to serve their needs, a new system will require a learning curve (sad). For anyone not yet accustomed to the UCR system, the new should be a delight (huge).

Sorry, that was a bit cheeky. Still, the new UCR system and data for the entirety of 2016 should be ready soon and we anticipate that once the new system is in full-swing, students will no longer need to wait nearly a year for the release of data. In fact, we anticipate that if not immediately, at some point data will be provided in real time, allowing for serious, in-depth data analysis.

2016 Mid-Year (January to June) UCR Data

For now, we must be content with the mid-year data provided by the FBI. In the following infographics, bar charts are provided to show the crime data reported by the FBI UCR for cities and counties reporting.

This chart shows the number of law enforcement agencies which report their crime data to the FBI. Shown are Nonmetro counties, metro counties, and cities ranging in population size from 10K to more than 1 million. As can be seen, the cities with populations under 10,000 people provide the largest share of data. However, as shown in the following chart, these criminal justice organizations represent a disproportionate number of people.
This chart shows the number of law enforcement agencies which report their crime data to the FBI. As can be seen, the cities with populations under 10,000 people provide the largest share of data. However, as shown in the following chart, these criminal justice organizations represent a disproportionate number of people. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Actual populations served by agencies reporting Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR. Caption reads, As seen in this chart, Metropolitan county law enforcement agencies protect and serve the largest populations represented in the UCR. In addition, it is worthy to note that the third smallest population segment is represented by the largest number of criminal justice agencies (compare this chart to the previous).
As seen in this chart, Metropolitan county law enforcement agencies protect and serve the largest populations represented in the UCR. In addition, it is worthy to note that the third smallest population segment is represented by the largest number of criminal justice agencies (compare this chart to the previous). CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR Aggravated Assault Percentage Change from 2015 by Population. Caption reads, As seen in this chart, Metropolitan county law enforcement agencies protect and serve the largest populations represented in the UCR. In addition, it is worthy to note that the third smallest population segment is represented by the largest number of criminal justice agencies (compare this chart to the previous).
This chart shows how much of a change by percentage was experienced in each city and county reporting from 2016 for aggravated assaults. As seen, the greatest increase in aggravated assaults occurred in major cities (greater than 1 million population) with the lowest increase in cities with between 10K and 25K populations. Also, it deserves noting that every category of population group experienced increases in this violent crime. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

January to June 2016 FBI UCR Violent Crime Percentage change from 2015 by population. caption reads, As with aggravated assaults, violent crime in general increased among every population category with again, the highest increase occurring in cities with more than 1 million people.
As with aggravated assaults, violent crime in general increased among every population category with again, the highest increase occurring in cities with more than 1 million people. If we compare this chart to the earlier “Actual Populations Served” we see that violent crime saw disproportionately greater increases in major urban centers from 2015 to 2016. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

January to June 2016 FBI UCR Motor Vehicle Theft percentage change from 2015 by population. As seen here, the change from 2015 to 2016 for motor vehicle thefts is substantial. In fact, some of the highest increases occurred with this form of crime and every population category was represented with increases.
As seen here, the change from 2015 to 2016 for motor vehicle thefts is substantial. In fact, some of the highest increases occurred with this form of crime and every population category was represented with increases. Why? CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

The chart Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR Robbery Percentage change from 2015 by population shows that For the period recorded January to June 2016, Robberies in the nation increased among nearly every population group/size. The only exception is that cities with a population between 250,000 and 500,000 experienced a slight decrease in robberies.
For the period recorded January to June 2016, Robberies in the nation increased among nearly every population group/size. The only exception is that cities with a population between 250,000 and 500,000 experienced a slight decrease in robberies. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR Rape Percentage Change from 2015 by Population. Caption reads, As seen in this chart, rape around the nation changed considerably from area to area with metropolitan counties experiencing the highest increases and cities under 10,000 seeing the greatest decrease. The data here combines both definitions of rape (the pre-2013 and the current).
As seen in this chart, rape around the nation changed considerably from area to area with metropolitan counties experiencing the highest increases and cities under 10,000 seeing the greatest decrease. The data here combines both definitions of rape (the pre-2013 and the current). CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR Property Crime Percentate Change from 2015 by Population. Caption reads, For the most part, property crimes were down in the first half of 2016 from the same period in 2015. The only exceptions were cities with more than 1 million people, which saw the greatest increase, cities between 50K and 100K population with a modest increase, and cities 100K - 150K, 500K-1M saw slight increases in property crimes. Counties and small cities generally experienced large decreases.
For the most part, property crimes were down in the first half of 2016 from the same period in 2015. The only exceptions were cities with more than 1 million people, which saw the greatest increase, cities between 50K and 100K population with a modest increase, and cities 100K – 150K, 500K-1M saw slight increases in property crimes. Counties and small cities generally experienced large decreases. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR Murders Percentage Change from 2015 by Population. Caption reads, The murder rate for the first half of 2016 was scattered, with non-metro areas and mid-size cities seeing decreases while metropolitan counties, major urban centers, and strangely cities with populations under 10K experiencing major increases.
The murder rate for the first half of 2016 was scattered, with non-metro areas and mid-size cities seeing decreases while metropolitan counties, major urban centers, and strangely cities with populations under 10K experiencing major increases. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR Larceny Theft Percentage Change ffrom 2015 by Population. Caption reads, Overall for 2016, Larceny Theft declined nationwide. The only exception was major urban centers with populations exceeding one million. In these, theft increased by more than 3% over the same period in 2015.
Overall for 2016, Larceny Theft declined nationwide. The only exception was major urban centers with populations exceeding one million. In these, theft increased by more than 3% over the same period in 2015. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR Burglary Percentage Change from 2015 by Population. Caption reads, Overall for 2016, Larceny Theft declined nationwide. The only exception was major urban centers with populations exceeding one million. In these, theft increased by more than 3% over the same period in 2015.
Every population group in the United States experienced a decline in burglaries over 2015 in the first half of 2016. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Jan to June 2016 FBI UCR Arson Percentage Change from 2015 by Population. Caption reads, For the most part, Arson declined in America in 2016 with the only exceptions being cities in excess of 500,000 people. The largest increase occurred in cities with populations greater than 1 million.
For the most part, Arson declined in America in 2016 with the only exceptions being cities in excess of 500,000 people. The largest increase occurred in cities with populations greater than 1 million. CC by CriminalJusticeLaw.org, may be used by attribution.

Conclusions Regarding FBI UCR 2016 Mid-Year Data

Sorry, but there is not enough information to draw conclusions. The plain fact is that data plotted as simply as found in these infographics can only serve to raise further questions. From there, research would be needed to draw sound conclusions.

For instance, we can hypothesize from this data that the economy is performing fairly well in cities under one million population because non-violent crimes are largely down across the board: Burglaries, Larceny, and Property Crime are down while Robberies and Motor Vehicle Theft increased. Why?

See, there is a question. One possible hypothesis involves looking at Arson rates, which are also down among those population centers. Arson is often a crime by property owners having financial difficulties. With arson down in non-major urban centers, it seems that property owners are faring well.

Some have noted that burglaries are more common in neighborhoods where income levels are lower. Likewise, larceny and property crime. However, robberies and car theft tend to affect the affluent more. Given this, combined with the increases in violent crime, much of which involves police-community/race/socio-economic relations, it is possible that this data reflects a shift in attitudes among the poor.

The strange data in 2016, placed into the perspective of the Black Lives Matter movement, the terrible police-community relations, the abrupt power shift in Washington DC politics, the expanding gap between rich and poor as well as the increased awareness of this gap leads to one possible conclusion: Those living in poverty are turning their anger outward, more so than in previous periods.

Naturally research is needed to determine if this is the case, but if so, the United States could be facing a serious and dangerous future. Throughout history, when the poor and oppressed stop fighting among themselves and turn their attention to the wealthier classes, violence and increased wanton bloodshed is the outcome. Given the strong increases in U.S.violent crime in both 2015 and the first half of 2016, such a scenario may have already begun.