Violent crime is up in Utah, according to new figures released by the FBI.
The agency's annual Uniform Crime Report released Monday showed that violent crime increased here, despite a national decline.
Property crimes also increased in Utah, while they decreased for the fifth year in a row nationwide.
Utah saw 6,210 violent crimes reported in 2007, an increase of 8.5 percent. Murder and manslaughter rose dramatically 26.1 percent with 58 homicides in 2007 versus 46 reported to the FBI in 2006.
Last year's slayings included:
• The Trolley Square massacre, where five people were killed and four were wounded when a young man went on a shooting rampage inside the Salt Lake City mall before dying in a shootout with police.
• The death of Utah corrections officer Stephen Anderson, 60, who was shot and killed during an inmate's escape from a medical clinic.
• The deaths of a 3-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother in a fiery murder-suicide at a rural Tooele County gas station. Their father also died in the fire.
• Three children, ages 9, 7, and 2, died in a murder-suicide committed by their mother in Kearns.
• A security guard shot and killed at a truck stop in Salt Lake City while trying to remove a belligerent customer.
Rape increased 4.5 percent, robbery increased 14 percent and aggravated assault increased about 7 percent, the FBI statistics showed. Property crime increased only 3.3 percent, the figures revealed.
Statewide, the population also increased from 2.5 million in 2006 to 2.6 million in 2007.
Breaking down the violent crime numbers by city, Salt Lake City led the state with 1,499 violent crimes reported last year. West Valley City had 594 reported violent crimes and Ogden had 501. The FBI cautions against ranking cities and counties, noting that the figures provide no insight into the variables that mold crime in a particular place.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank acknowledged violent crime was up slightly, but said overall crime was down, continuing a trend that has been happening for the past several years.
"For the city, I'm very happy with the direction we're going," Burbank said.
Burbank said statistics can always be interpreted many ways, especially when they pass through several departments before a report is released. He also noted that sometimes a single incident, such as the tragedy at Trolley Square, could skew the statistics.
Overall, Burbank said the crime rate in Salt Lake City was "headed in the right direction."Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner has said that violent crimes are down for the first eight months of 2008. He credited it to a new computer system that helps pinpoint troubled areas of the city and a specialized crime-reduction squad that focuses on a one-mile section of Ogden's downtown that accounts for a quarter of overall crime there.
Contributing: Pat Reavy E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]