Crime in Salt Lake City decreased 9 percent last year - a drop three times larger than the national average, according to FBI data released Sunday.

But city crime became more vicious, with violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and assault actually increasing 6.4 percent while property crimes dropped sharply.FBI data show Salt Lake City also has more overall crime than cities of similar population - possibly because it is the center of a large surrounding metropolitan area, while most cities its size are not.

"Crime problems are so grave that few Americans will find much comfort in a small reduction (3 percent nationally) in the overall amount of reported crime," said FBI Director Louis J. Freeh. "The nation must find ways to achieve large crime reductions that are permanent."

Among violent crimes, the number of murders in Salt Lake City increased from 14 to 19, forcible rapes increased from 187 to 204, robberies increased from 470 to 498 and aggravated assaults increased from 646 to 681.

In property crimes, the number of burglaries dropped from 3,394 to 2,823, larceny/theft cases dropped from 14,266 to 12,831, arson cases dropped from 110 to 80, but motor vehicle thefts increased from 1,368 to 1,397.

With that, Salt Lake City reported 18,533 crimes during 1993 - which is higher than in other cities of similar size. For example, the number of crimes in cities of about 160,000 population - such as Salt Lake City - include 16,434 in Chattanooga, Tenn.; and 15,400 in Knoxville, Tenn.; 15,000 in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and 7,295 in Fremont, Calif. Larger cities with about the same number of crimes as Salt Lake City include Dayton, Ohio (population 182,000) and Jersey City, N.J. (population 229,000).

City-by-city crime data were released only for cities with populations of more than 100,000. Salt Lake City is the only city that large in Utah.

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Additional Information

Less crime, more violence

Changes in Salt Lake City crime rate 1992 to 1993

Violent Crimes

Salt Lake National

Murder +36% +3%

Rape +9% -4%

Robbery +6% -2%

Aggravated Assault +5% 0%

total +6% -1%

Property Crimes

Burglary -17% -6%

Larceny/theft -10% -2%

Motor Vehicle Theft +2% -4%

Arson -27% -6%

total -11% -3%

Total Serious Crime Salt Lake National

-9% -3%

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports