More than 1.4 million murders, rapes, robberies and assaults were committed around the United States last year, or a violent crime every 22 seconds, the FBI said.
"Nationwide, there were an estimated 1,417,745 violent crimes reported in 2006," the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in its 'Crime in the United States' report, which updated preliminary data released in June.
The number of victims of violent crime in the United States last year was the equivalent of the entire population of European Union member Estonia or the African state of Gabon falling victim to murder, rape, robbery or assault.
The rate of violent crime was up by 1.9 per cent compared with 2005, with murders climbing by 1.8 per cent to nearly 15,000 cases last year.
Nearly 450,000 people were robbery victims, marking a rise of 7.2 per cent on 2005.
Incidences of rape fell 2 per cent last year, while aggravated assault fell only slightly, by 0.2 per cent.
Less than half of violent crime cases - 44.3 per cent - were cleared, the data showed.
The murder weapon of choice was the firearm: of the 719 murder victims in the state of Pennsylvania, 77 per cent were killed by a gun and only 7 per cent by knives.
Big city dwellers were around 2.5 times more likely to become victims of violent crime than people who live in the countryside.
The FBI statistics showed that 514 violent crimes for 100,000 people were committed in large cities, against just 199 per 100,000 in rural settings.
To cite an example, nearly 23,000 people were victims of violent crime in Philadelphia, capital of Pennsylvania, or around 1 per cent of the population of 1.464 million.
In the Pennsylvania town of Adamstown, population 1,300, no violent crime was reported last year.
While the statistics indicated that violent crime was creeping back up after a 15-year downward trend, the FBI stressed that the crime rate per capita last year was below that of 2003.
In 2006, 473.5 violent crimes were committed for every 100,000 people in the United States, while in 2003 the rate was 475.8 per 100,000.
Violent crime peaked in the United States in 1991, when it reached a rate of 758.2 per 100,000, and reached a low in 2004 at 463.2 per 100,000.
The report also showed that property crimes - car theft, burglaries, larceny and arson - were down by 1.9 per cent last year compared with 2005.
But a "crime clock" put together by the FBI showed that a house is robbed every 14 seconds and a vehicle stolen every 26 seconds.
To tackle crime, the number of sworn police officers in the United States was 2.4 per 1,000 people.
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