Violent crime ticked up statewide in 2012, but Utah still has one of the lowest rates in the country, new FBI data shows.
Nearly 5,900 violent crimes were committed in Utah last year — up about 4 percent from the previous year. The state’s rate of violent crimes per 100,000 people was the sixth-lowest in the country behind Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wyoming. The year before, the state had the third-lowest rate.
The FBI’s violent crime metric includes four crimes: murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Nationally, violent crime increased by less than 1 percent, FBI data shows.
The 50 murders reported in Utah in 2012 were the exact same number as the previous year. The state’s rate of 1.8 homicides per 100,000 people was the fifth-lowest in the country behind only New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and Idaho, FBI data shows. By comparison, Arizona had a murder rate of 5.5; and Nevada 4.5 per 100,000.
Overall, the figures paint a picture of a state that remains a safe place to live, police officials said.
“We tend to look out for each other in Utah and Salt Lake City,” said Lara Jones, Salt Lake City police spokeswoman. “When something happens in a neighborhood, people get outraged. The commitment to doing something about (it) is what lowers the crime rate.”
Utah ranked in the middle of the pack among states for property crime rates, with 206 such crimes per 100,000. The FBI’s property crime includes burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Nationally, property crime rate dropped about 1 percent.
Crimes in this category shot up 12 percent in Salt Lake City, the state’s largest city.
Salt Lake City police have noticed the uptick and made it a priority to teach people how they can keep their property safe, Jones said. Police officials say about one quarter of all property crimes happen when people leave things out in the open or unattended.
The number of cars reported stolen actually decreased statewide in 2012, but they went up 15 percent in Salt lake City. Earlier this summer, Salt Lake City police cautioned owners of older-model Hondas to be on high alert after seeing 450 of these cars reported stolen.
The eight murders in Salt Lake City were the most of any city in the state and up from six the previous year.
Violent crime and property crime inched up only slightly in West Valley City, the state’s second-largest city, while murders decreased. There was just one murder in 2012, down from four the previous year.