Major Crimes End Downtrend, Rise 4%

Associated Press

After a three-year decline, major crimes reported to police rose 4% in 1985 compared to the previous year, the FBI reported Thursday.

The FBI’s index of eight major crimes showed that murders nationwide rose 1%, forcible rape climbed 4%, robbery rose by 3% and the number of aggravated assaults rose by 6%. Violent crime overall was up 5%, while property crimes rose 4%.

Nationally, burglary was up 2%, larceny-theft 5%, motor vehicle theft 6% and arson 3%.

Cites Reduced Concern


Authorities said drugs and less concern over crime after several years of declines may have contributed to the reversal, after declines in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

“I think as crime started to decrease, a certain amount of apathy started taking over,” said Jerald Vaughn, executive director of the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police. “People just didn’t seem as concerned about the preventive measures that might have assisted in crime being reduced.”

The “volume of drugs available in our society, and crime related to drug trafficking” also played a role in the increase, he said.

After reaching all-time highs in 1980 and 1981, the number of major offenses reported to the nation’s 16,000 law enforcement agencies fell 12% from 1982 through 1984.


Held Level in Midwest

But in 1985, crime levels rose 8% in the South, 5% in the West and 2% in the Northeast. The crime level stayed the same in the Midwest.

The FBI’s uniform crime reporting section said population shifts to the Sun Belt states had played a role in the increase in crime, along with early release programs for prisons in many states.

There were increases in construction site thefts and more property crimes, such as shoplifting and theft at businesses, reflecting regional population shifts, the FBI said.


Law enforcement officials say only about one-third of all crimes are reported to authorities.