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Crime is down nationwide and in Philadelphia, according to the FBI's annual crime report for 2007.

This week, the FBI issued its annual Crime in the United States report, a compilation of crime statistics for the nation, states and individual agencies. The report also includes arrest, clearance and law-enforcement employee data.

Violent crime has decreased by 0.7 percent across the United States, and national property theft has dropped 1.4 percent.

Statistics for Philadelphia are even more impressive, with violent crime down by 7.5 percent and a decrease of 1.3 percent for property theft.

The nationwide drop in violent crime is particularly dramatic since this statistic had been increasing over 2005 and 2006.

In Philadelphia, murders dropped by 3.4 percent, forcible rapes by 0.4 percent, robberies by 7 percent and aggravated assault by 9.2 percent from 2007.

Property crimes in the city showed smaller declines, with burglaries decreasing by 0.2 percent, larceny thefts by 0.6 percent and motor-vehicle thefts by 4.7 percent.

Penn Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush was pleased with the statistics.

"It's great news for the commissioner, the mayor . everyone involved with law enforcement in the city," she said.

Professor of Criminology Richard Berk was more skeptical about the positive implications of the lower crime rates for this year.

"Such year-to-year variation is essentially noise and at best of academic interest," he wrote in an e-mail.

Burke added that analysis of crime trends on a local level is more meaningful in explaining crime rates.

Rush also said Philadelphia is off to a promising year. She praised new policies enforced by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who assumed his position in the first week of January.

"The commissioner made a lot of changes right off the bat," Rush said. "He recognized the importance of putting more uniformed police on the street to deter crime and identified six key districts to patrol."

Thus far in 2008, 235 murders have been reported in the city, down from 297 at this point last year.

In the Penn patrol zone, crime is down six percent for 2008 so far. Violent offenses on and near campus have seen a 41-percent decrease for the year to date.

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