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Violent Crime in Massachusetts: A 25-Year Retrospective Annual Policy Brief (1988 - 2012)

NCJ Number
Brittany Peters
Date Published
February 2014
12 pages

This report presents data on the prevalence and characteristics of violent crime in Massachusetts over the 25-year period from 1988 to 2012.


Law enforcement agencies recorded 26,819 offenses within the Commonwealth in 2012, an 18-percent decrease since 1988, the lowest number of violent crimes in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. During the same 25-year period, the violent-crime rate per 100,000 Massachusetts residents dropped 29 percent. Between 2011 and 2012, violent crime decreased 3.0 percent in the Commonwealth, showing a 33-percent decline in murder, a 4-percent decline in aggravated assault, and a drop in both forcible rapes and robberies of less than 1 percent. The violent-crime rate in the States decreased 4 percent between 2011 and 2012, showing declines in three of the four major offense categories: murder, a 33-percent decline; robbery, a 1-percent decline; and aggravated assault, a 5-percent decline. The rate of forcible rape remained stable at 24 rapes per 100,000 residents. The cumulative number of violent crimes in Massachusetts shows a pattern similar to the Nation as a whole. Data were obtained from local law enforcement agencies and cumulative State violent-crime statistics provided by the Police Crime Reporting Unit. 10 figures, 3 tables, and 6 references