The purpose of this Annual Policy Brief is to increase public awareness of the nature and prevalence of violent crime in the Commonwealth by analyzing data over a 25-year period from 1987 to 2011. The state data presented in this report is also examined within the context of national trends during the same timeframe. The four major offense classifications that are used to measure violent crime are murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Aggravated assault includes all assault sub-categories (assault; assault by gun; assault by knife; assault by blunt object; and assault by hands/fist) except simple assault. These classifications are based upon the Massachusetts Department of State Police Crime Reporting Unit’s (CRU) Massachusetts Part I Offense Data Uniform Crime Report Codebook, modeled after the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook.
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