Arizona beating 2014 national homicide trend

FBI Special Agent Perryn Collier talks about what causes fluctuations in crime rates. (Photo by Audrey Weil/Cronkite News)

The FBI released its 2014 Crime Statistics on Tuesday. While Arizona mirrored most of the crime trends from the rest of the nation, the state saw significant differences in two areas: homicide and rape.

Arizona’s homicide rate declined 10.1 percent from 2013 to 2014, while the national rate declined only 0.5 percent. Rape, however, increased in the state by 6.4 percent. Nationally, rape was up 2.6 percent.

But, according to FBI officials, there are a number of factors that could cause fluctuations in numbers.

The FBI compiles the data given voluntarily by 18,000 state, local and county law enforcement departments.

“If the economy is doing well, that affects crime. If people are unemployed, that affects crime,” FBI Special Agent Perryn Collier said. “If there’s a large youth population who are involved in criminal activity, joining gangs, that may affect criminal rates. So there’s a lot of variables: economic, social that impact crime. The weather could impact crime. If it’s warm and it’s a long day and people are out of school, that affects the crime rate.”

Across the U.S., burglary saw the largest decrease, down 10.5 percent since 2013.