Data in the FBI’s annual “Crime in the United States” report indicates violent crimes declined 1.9 percent and property crimes dropped 0.08 percent compared with 2007 figures.
The statistics are based on voluntary reports submitted by law enforcement agencies and represent 94.9 percent of the nation’s population, according to the publication.
Rome Police Capt. Terry Autry said the report provides a valuable snapshot of trends on the national, state and local levels.
“For instance, property crimes went up a few years ago when this recession started hitting,” he said. “We had a lot of copper thefts and gas drive-offs, but it’s leveled off.”
Rome saw a 7.26-percent decrease in property crimes — burglary, felony theft and auto theft — according to the department’s annual report. Violent crimes, including murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, fell a total of 32.7 percent inside the city limits.
The Floyd County Police Department reported a 17-percent drop in violent crimes and a 0.06-percent decline in property crimes in 2008.
The FBI report views arson as a serious property crime but does not include it in overall calculations. The number of arsons rose in Rome, to 17 from 12, but dropped in the unincorporated area to eight from nine.
Autry said the FBI has a strict system of crime classification so there can be some variance between its numbers and local data.
“They have different definitions from what our state does, but it’s close,” he said.
Both the Rome and Floyd County departments send monthly crime statistics to the FBI, but the numbers were omitted from the massive report released on Monday.
Nancy Carnes of the FBI Multimedia Productions Group said agencies must submit 12 complete months of data to be listed. Only 11 months were on file from Rome, she said, and the January report from Floyd County was tossed out by the computer.
“The data was determined to be invalid or too low when compared to other months’ data,” she said.
In both cases, an automatic estimate was created for the missing months and the statistics were included in the state and national trend figures, Carnes said.