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WASHINGTON -- Murders across the United States fell for the first time in five years, while rapes increased slightly last year, the FBI reported Monday.
Overall, the number of violent crimes, which also include aggravated assaults and robberies, fell by 1.2 percent last year. Property crimes _ burglaries, larceny/theft and car theft _ dropped 1.1 percent in 2004, compared to 2003.
There were 16,137 murders in the United States in 2004, the last full year for which statistics are available. That was about 350 fewer than in 2003, according to the FBI data. The decrease is the first since 1999, although smaller than what the FBI reported in June. Chicago was largely responsible for the drop, recording 150 fewer murders in 2004 than in 2003....