FBI says law enforcement alone cannot solve increasing crime
Violent crime jumped 11 percent 1980 over the previous year, according to the FBI's annual index. FBI director William H. Websters says, "Law enforcement alone cannot cope with this grave social ill."
Some 15,000 law enforcement agencies reported more than 13 million crime index offenses. There were increases in all categories. So-called "serious crimes" were up 9 percent.
Of the 23,044 murders across the country -- one every 23 minutes -- half were committed by handguns. (Comparisons by civilian agencies say Canada had only 52 handgun murders in a recent year, and England, Scotland, and Wales combined, only 55.)
"It is evident that no one segment of the government or the public at large has the answer to crime reduction," Mr. Webster says in a forward to the report. He asked each citizen "to take an active interest in the problem."
The national crime rate, which relates the crime volume to population increased 7 percent in 1980 over 1979, or 42 percent over 1971 figures.
By regions, Southern states accounted for 31 percent of crime index offenses: the North, Central, and Western states, 24 percent, and the Northeastern states 21 percent.
The 369-page report breaks down statistics by locality, population, category of crime and type of criminal. For the nation, murder was up 7 percent, robbery 18 percent, and burglary 14 percent.
During the year there was an estimated 10.4 million arrests for all criminal infractions other than traffic violations, an increase of 2 percent over 1979.
Persons under 25 years of age comprised 57 percent of those arrested for violent crimes and 73 percent for property crimes. Male arrests outnumbered females, 5 to 1.
The report says that the 4 million burglaries in the US represented a financial loss of $3.3 billion.
About 1 million motor vehicles were stolen in 1980; the average value of the car was $2879 and the total national loss is estimated at $3.2 billion. Sixty-five percent of those arrested were under 21, the report says, and those under 18 accounted for 45 percent.
America's high crime rate has produced half a dozen presidential commissions. Attorney General William French Smith named a special task force last month to recommend ways the Federal government can help fight crime. It proposed simplification in the criminal justice system and calledd for an additional $2 billion over the next four years to help states build more prisons. It recommended faster punishment of violent offenders.
The American Bar Association (ABA) endorsed the proposals and urged the new group to take national leadership in the crime fight. The ABA noted an "ever-increasing rate of crimes committed by handguns." The association said it is "absolutely crucial" that the attorney general "be given the tools to fight handgun violence." Legislation to implement ABA proposals was introduced in Congress last April.
The FBI report carries a "Crime Clock" that notes one property crime every three seconds and one violent crime every 24 seconds. Burglaries occur every eight seconds, motor vehicle thefts every 28 seconds, and robberies every 58 seconds.
Last year, the report says, 104 law enforcement officers (local, state and federal) were killed in line of duty. Firearms were used in 91 percent of the killings.