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In October 2000, the FBI issued its annual report on crime, a 422-page tome, which shows crime down in the United States for the eighth straight year. The report found a total of 11.6 million criminal offenses in 1999, or 4,267 crimes per 100,000 people, a 7.6 percent decrease and the largest drop in a single year in the last two decades. The nation's murder total of 15,533 victims represented an eight percent drop and a thirty-three year low, while rates of robbery, assault, burglary, forcible rape, and motor vehicle theft all fell between four and ten percent. The downward trend applied to virtually all types of crime in all areas of the country. While the news was considered to be good, criminologists warned that the declines were lower in the largest cities and that these numbers may be harbingers of an upswing in crime in the next decade. These same experts disagree over the causes of the decline in crime that has marked the decade of the 1990s. Many point to more police officers, tougher sentencing laws, and more prisons as primary factors, while others focus on good economic times, a greater focus on drug treatment, and the graying of the population. One curious fact to be gleaned from the data is that the person least likely to be murdered in America today would be a white, single woman living in Iowa or New Hampshire who does not have a male partner.
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