Crime is on the decline in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual "Crime in the United States-1 reports serious crime in 1999 dropped 7 percent from 1998 and 16 percent from 1995. Compared with totals for 1998, both violent and property crime totals diminished 7 percent, while murder and robbery together decreased 8 percent from 1998 to 1999. .
Aggravated assault figures fell by 6 percent, and rape statistics fell by 4 percent. In 1999, the number of violent crimes was 20 percent below the 1995 figure and 21 percent below that recorded in 1990. .
The 1999 crime index rate " 4,267 offenses per 100,000 population " was 8 percent lower than in 1998. Compared with the 1990 rate, 1999's was more than a quarter lower at 27 percent, and 19 percent lower than the 1995 rate. Overall, the FBI has recorded eight straight years of crime-rate decreases. .
Experts point to a variety of factors that likely are driving the decreasing rate, including a strong economy, changing demographics, advanced technology and innovative law enforcement tactics such as community policing. Equally important has been the upgrade and integration of information technology used by law enforcement and criminal justice organizations. .
Particularly in the last five years, law enforcement has been applying new IT (Information Technology) tools and techniques that automate record keeping and facilitate information sharing on arrests, convictions and criminal profiles with colleagues across time and geography. .
The biggest impact of information technology on law enforcement is putting information in the hands of key decision-makers at critical points. The more technology that law enforcement deploys, the more the quality of information available is improved. Because it's breaking down barriers, technology is changing the way law enforcement operates.