Crime Rates Soar! Not!/Muslim attacks on UN children’s camp


From the NYT

May 24, 2010

U.S. Crime Rates Fell in 2009 Despite Sour Economy

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — Despite turmoil in the economy and high unemployment, crime rates fell significantly across the United States in 2009, according to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday.

Compared with 2008, violent crimes declined by 5.5 percent last year, and property crimes decreased 4.9 percent, according to the F.B.I.’s preliminary annual crime report. There was an overall decline in reported crimes for the third straight year; the last increase was in 2006.

The bureau’s figures are compiled from data voluntarily submitted by 13,237 local and state law enforcement agencies across the country, and measure the number of offenses reported to the authorities. A bureau spokesman declined to speculate about any explanation for the trend.

Violent crimes — like murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — fell in cities and rural areas alike, led by a 7.5 percent drop in cities with populations between 500,000 and a million and a 6.9 percent drop in cities with more than a million inhabitants.

The steepest decline was in robbery reports — 8.1 percent — followed by murder with a 7.2 percent decline overall. However, there were some exceptions: murders rose by 1.8 percent in rural areas, and by 5.3 percent in cities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 inhabitants.

Property crimes — like larcenies, burglaries and auto thefts — also declined broadly across the country, headlined by a 17.2 percent fall in reported motor vehicle thefts. Other major categories were down much less sharply, with a 4.2 percent fall in larceny-thefts and 1.7 percent fewer burglaries reported.

Cities with a population of a million or more inhabitants reported the largest decline in property crime, with a drop of 7.9 percent overall — including a 21.1 percent falloff in reported motor vehicle thefts. While property crimes were down generally in rural counties, by 6.7 percent, burglaries were up slightly, rising 0.5 percent compared to 2008.

The F.B.I. said that arson reports, which it tracks separately from other property crimes, dropped 10.4 percent nationally in 2009, with declines across all population groups and regions.

Among the 8.4 million inhabitants of the New York metropolitan area, there were 46,357 violent crimes reported in 2009, down from 48,430 in 2008. Reports of property crimes also dropped in New York, with 142,000 reported incidents in 2009, down from 149,989 the year before.

There were declines in most major categories for New York: Murders fell to 471 from 523; forcible rapes to 832 from 890; robberies to 18,597 from 22,186; burglaries to 18,780 from 19,867; larceny-thefts to 112,526 from 117,682; and motor vehicle thefts to 10,694 from 12,440. However, reports of aggravated assaults rose to 26,457 in 2009 from 24,831 in 2008.

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This is from Al Jazeera, the Arab television and web news organization. Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza have a great deal to answer for, but this atrocity was perpetrated by Muslim fundamentalists.

Gaza children’s camp destroyed

Dozens of masked men have broken into a UN-run Gaza summer camp for children and set it on fire, after beating up the guard and destroying the plastic tents.

The men blocked Gaza Strip’s main coastal highway on Sunday before destroying the facility, one of the largest of several summer camps across the occupied Palestinian territory run by UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

“The militants gave the guard three bullets and a letter warning the UN to stop having summer camps like these,” Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johston, reporting from Gaza, said.

John Ging, UNRWA’s Gaza director, said: “UNRWA will not be intimidated by these attacks. UNRWA will repair this location.”

He said that the attack was carried out by people with an “extremist mentality” and vowed to continue his agency’s work in Gaza.

No one claimed the attack, but it appeared to have been carried out by Muslim groups who may be opposed to the camps because they allow boys and girls to mingle.

Gaza’s police force was investigating the incident, and Ihab al-Ghussein, the interior ministry spokesman, said “the action is strongly condemned and those behind it will be held accountable”.

Our correspondent said that although this was the first time the camp had been attacked, there was concern that parents may not send their children to the camp due to safety concerns.

“Usually around 250,000 children attend this camp over summer. This one is the biggest of about four in Gaza,” she said.

The Gaza Strip has been administered by Hamas since June 2007, when it took control of the territory after routing forced loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

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