WASHINGTON — The crime rate in the United States rose nearly 2 percent in 2005 after hitting a two-decade low in 2004, a direct result of cuts in federal funding, according to local law enforcement agencies.
The murder rate rose 1.8 percent in 2005, according to an FBI report, and members of the Police Executive Research Forum believe crime rates will continue to increase in the future.
The federal government has redirected millions of dollars in localized grants, and anti-crime initiatives have taken a back seat to anti-terrorism efforts, according to some police officials.
However, the Department of Justice attributes the rise in crime to a combination of other factors, including: a rise in gang membership; the spread and increase of drug use, particularly methamphetamine; and the growing number of people who are ages 18 to 24, the age group typically charged with committing the most crimes.
The increase in crime is apparent in large and small communities throughout the country. In Springfield, Mass., the number of homicides has doubled since 2000. In Seattle, there was a 25 percent increase in gun-related crime in 2005. Urban areas, such as Oakland, Calif., Philadelphia, and Cincinnati have also seen a significant increase in crime in 2001.