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Defining Violent Crimes

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, there are four main offenses that are considered as violent crime. These include murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The common denominator with these criminal acts is the threat of use or actual use of force to complete the criminal act.

According to the FBI, the following are the recent statistics related to violent crime:

  • There was an estimated 1,318,398 violent crimes that occurred in 2009, a 5.3 percent decrease from the previous year;
  • On a per capita basis, the estimate per hundred thousand inhabitants is the commission of 429.4 violent crimes during the same year;
  • The highest number of violent crimes committed was aggravated assault, with nearly 61.2 percent reported to law enforcement. Robbery consisted 31.0 percent of violent crimes while forcible rape accounted for 6.7 percent with murder accounting for 1.2 percent of total violent crimes in 2009;
  • Firearms were used in 67.1 percent of murders committed, 42.6 percent of robberies committed and 20.9 percent of aggravated results.

Violent crime suggests that these acts are committed by individuals through the use of threats, attempt or actual infliction of physical harm upon another person. The gravity of the criminal act is also dependent on the use of guns or other weapons, the criminal history of the accused as well as the resulting injuries to the victim.

Common tendencies in the commission of violent crimes are the presence of hatred or disregard for the worth of others and these affect the gravity of the imposable penalty. The emotional and psychological background fuels the criminal act itself, as these are manifested in crimes of aggravated assault, arson, assault and battery, domestic violence, hate crime, homicide, manslaughter, mayhem, murder, terrorism and theft/larceny.

Murder and manslaughter are considered as the most serious violent acts with attendant prison terms or other penalties. What is exempted in these acts is involuntary manslaughter, where there is no intent to kill or do bodily harm, as the death is a result of negligence.

Other examples of violent crimes include:

  • Vehicular Assault. These involve acts that use vehicles as means to injure or maim another person;
  • Domestic Assault. These acts involve violence perpetrated among and between domestic partners.
  • Rape. This is the act forcible sexual intercourse, or sexual intercourse between an adult and a person below the age of majority or sexual intercourse between an adult and an individual incapable of providing consent, either through temporary or permanent disability.
  • Sodomy. This is an act of forcible anal or oral sex with another person, either an adult or with individuals below the age of majority.