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FBI report: Overall crime falls in Arizona but violent crime rises

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — The overall crime rate in Arizona fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2017 despite a continued rise in violent crimes, according to a new federal report.

The FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report for last year, which was released Monday, showed an overall drop of 1.4 percent in the state but a 7.9 percent increase in the violent crime rate.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday that the data in the report helps local law enforcement know what areas need more attention.

“It allows us to look at year-over-year changes and trends in crime within Arizona,” he said.

The report measures crime rates per 100,000 people for certain types of crime.

Murder, rape, robbery and assault are classified at violent crimes, while burglary, larceny theft and motor vehicle theft fall under property crime.

“As as of this most recent report, property crime fell to its lowest level since 1960,” Montgomery said.

“Unfortunately, violent crimes went up in every category.”

Montgomery said the state’s downward overall trend has been driven by a reduction in property crime, which makes up the larger portion of overall crime.

The biggest increase has been in assaults, with the rate reaching 345 per 100,000 people in 2017. The rate was 315.6 in 2016 and has been climbing since it was at 262.1 in 2013, Montgomery said.

Maricopa County has responded to the trend by partnering with neighborhoods, communities and police departments to work on reducing aggravated assaults, Montgomery said.

The county also has been working with national and local agencies to address gun violence.

Montgomery said those efforts are examples of how “law enforcement takes a look at some of this data and identifies an area that we need to work more on and cooperate more closely to address.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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