Violent crime in the United States dropped sharply in 2010 for the fourth straight year, but the murder rate in the Northeast soared, led by more homicides in Boston and New York, the FBI said yesterday.

Bucking the trend where crime rose when the economy soured, violent crime such as murder, rape and aggravated assault dropped 6 percent last year while unemployment remained stubbornly high. Property crime fell 2.7 percent from 2009, according to final statistics collected by the FBI from law enforcement agencies nationwide.

At the same time, the number of murders jumped substantially in major cities in the Northeast, including Boston, New York and New Jersey’s largest city, Newark, which all experienced double-digit increases, the statistics showed.

The national murder rate fell 4.2 percent, the FBI said.

 

Major metropolitan areas that have had crime problems saw murder rates fall, including a 6.5 percent decline in Los Angeles and a 15 percent drop in Detroit, where there has been a big decline in population due to the economic downturn.

The number of motor vehicle thefts dropped 7.4 percent, and burglaries fell 2 percent.

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