WASHINGTON (Reuters) - America's murder rate rose last year, but violent crimes such as rape and assault fell to the lowest level in almost 30 years, according to U.S. government figures released on Sunday
Preliminary FBI estimates showed 16,110 people were murdered in America in 2002, up 0.8 percent from the year before, the Department of Justice said. Final numbers will be available later this year.
The number of violent crimes fell to 5.3 million from 5.7 million the previous year, according to separate Justice Department data. Crimes against property such as household burglary and car theft, fell to 17.5 million last year from 18.3 million in 2001.
The overall number of victimizations -- not including murders -- was 23 million, the lowest since the government began keeping records in 1973.
The report found that those most vulnerable to violent crimes in the past -- males, blacks and youths -- continued to be victims at rates higher than others in 2002.
Seven percent of all violent crime victims faced an offender with a firearm last year