Advertise:   712.224.5420

Some crimes, arrests increase among Native Americans

The number of violent crimes and property crimes declined in 2004, the FBI reported on Monday, but certain incidents involving American Indians and Alaska Natives increased.

Nationwide, violent crime -- including murder, robbery and aggravated assault -- fell by 1.2 percent last year. Meanwhile, property crimes decreased by 1.1 percent, according to statistics collected from over 17,000 tribal, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting program.

"In a nation where information sharing has become a priority so that law enforcement can work together to investigate crimes and prevent terrorist acts, the UCR program remains an open book for all who want to better understand crime in the United States," said Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI.

Despite the drop in overall crime, there were some increases. The number of rapes grew slightly, by 0.8 percent, the FBI reported.

And crime in Indian Country continues to be a problem. For the past five years, government reports have shown that American Indian and Alaska Native men and women of all ages are victimized at the highest rates in the nation.

The UCR data released yesterday showed that the number of hate crimes against Native Americans increased. In 2004, a total of 100 Native Americans were victimized in bias crimes, up from 85 in 2003.

At the same time, fewer Native Americans were involved in hate crimes, the data showed. In 2004, only 48 Native Americans committed bias crimes, down from 61 in 2003.

Murder statistics involving Native Americans were harder to come by. Due to the way the data was presented in both the 2004 and 2003 reports, American Indians and Alaska Natives were lumped with Asians and Pacific Islanders so it's not possible to determine whether Native Americans were victims of homicide at a higher rate.

But other data showed that more and more American Indians and Alaska Natives are being arrested for committing violent crimes. Native Americans made up 1.3 percent of all arrested in 2004 despite being less than 1 percent of the total population.

In 2004, a total of 131,539 Native Americans were arrested for crimes like murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary. This was up from 125,438 arrests of Native Americans in 2003.

The number of Native Americans arrested for murder, for example, last year was 122, up from 101 the year before. The number of aggravated assault arrests grew to 3,957 from 3,492.

Other arrests of Native Americans saw a decline, however. These included motor vehicle thefts, stolen property and vandalism crimes.

But crimes related to money -- fraud, forgery and counterfeiting and embezzlement -- were up in 2004, the data showed. Fraud grew by 10.9 percent, forgery grew by 18.2 percent and embezzlement grew by 9.4 percent.

Despite the overall increase in Native American arrests, juvenile crime was down, the report showed. Fewer Native Americans and Alaska Natives under the age of 18 were arrested for violent and property crimes in 2004.

The overwhelming number of arrests of Native Americans -- 72.3 percent occurred in cities, the data shows. Another 10.1 percent occurred in metropolitan counties The remainder occurred in nonmetropolitan counties -- assumed to be reservations -- and in suburban areas -- communities that are likely to be located near reservations.

A special section of the report dealt with juvenile drug abuse violations. The data showed that the number of Native youth involved in drug crimes has increased steadily since 1994 while drug arrests involving youth of other races has decreased.

As a result, the data shows a whopping increase in the percentage change of drug arrests involving Native youth. Between 1994 and 2003, the number of arrests grew by 130.6 percent, according to the report.

The largest increase came in synthetic narcotics -- methamphetamine, for example. Overall, however, most Native youth arrests involved marijuana, the data showed.

Get the Report:
Crime in the United States 2004 | FBI Releases Crime Statistics for 2004 | Fact Sheet on UCR

Prior Uniform Crime Reports:
Crime in the United States (FBI)