Violent crimes were down for the first six months of 2003 in the East Valley’s largest communities, Tempe and Mesa, but were up in Chandler and Gilbert, the FBI reported Monday.
The report compares the first half of 2003 with the first six months of 2002.
Mesa was the only one of the four municipalities that saw a rise in murders, from nine to 11, the FBI report said.
Tempe saw a drop, from five to two. Chandler stayed the same at one, and Gilbert went from one to zero.
Rapes went from 66 to 59 in Mesa; 40 to 34 in Tempe; 23 to 24 in Chandler; and 14 to 19 in Gilbert.
Robberies dropped in all four municipalities, from 320 to 212 in Mesa; 178 to 157 in Tempe; 75 to 57 in Chandler; and 25 to 18 in Gilbert.
Aggravated assaults dropped in Mesa, from 1,193 to 856; and Tempe, from 401 to 297. They rose in Chandler, from 147 to 214; and in Gilbert, from 43 to 59.
Nationwide, murders were up slightly, with gang violence contributing to more killings in some of the nation’s largest cities, the FBI reported.
The number of murders rose 1.1 percent nationwide, while overall violent crime declined 3.1 percent.
The six-month totals for 2003 marked the third consecutive time the FBI has recorded a decrease in overall violent crimes but an increase in murders.
Aggravated assaults were down 4.4 percent nationally, with forcible rapes dropping 4 percent and robberies less than 1 percent.
Property crimes dropped by 0.8 percent compared with the year before, although motor vehicle thefts were up slightly, by 0.9 percent.
Other property crimes are burglary and larceny.
The number of arsons — measured separately — dropped 10 percent from year to year, with every part of the country seeing fewer criminal fires set in the first half of 2003.
There was a marked regional disparity in motor vehicle thefts, with all regions of the country showing a decrease from January to June except the West, where they rose by 7.2 percent.
Locally, Tempe and Mesa saw a drop in vehicle thefts by 296 and 610 thefts, respectively, while Chandler and Gilbert saw their numbers rise by 18 and 16 thefts, respectively.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports for the first six months of the year are based on information collected from 9,908 state and local law enforcement agencies.