Quick Facts:

• Over 2.3 million Americans (about 1% of the population) are currently incarcerated. That is the highest percentage in the world, ahead of Russia, St. Kitts and Nevis, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Turkmenistan.

• It costs taxpayers about $23,000 a year to house and feed each prisoner.

• About seven percent of U.S. federal prisoners are female.

• Over 75% of women incarcerated in the U.S. are single mothers.

• Over half of all federal prisoners are being incarcerated for drug offenses.

• About 73% of American federal prison inmates are U.S. citizens and 16% are Mexican.

• Whites make up 56% of all federal prisoners; 40% are black, 2% are Native American and 2% are Asian.

• According to one study, African-American men are twice as likely to spend time in jail during their lifetime as they are to earn a bachelor’s degree.

• Between 1930-2007, 4,958 prisoners were executed in the U.S.

• In Florida, the oldest male state prisoner is Frank Rowland, 89, who is serving a life sentence for sexual molestation. The oldest female is Marie Otero, also 89, who is serving a 31-year murder sentence.

• In 1981, an Alabama judge gave Dudley Wayne Kyzer what is believed to be the longest sentence ever dispensed in American history–10,000 years for killing his wife. He also received life sentences for murdering his mother-in-law and a college student.

• Rikers Island in New York is considered the world’s largest penal colony. As many as 130,000 inmates reside there each year (although only about 15,000 at any one time).

• William Heirens has been serving in an Illinois state prison since September, 1946. The 79-year-old killed three women. His 61 years behind bars is probably the longest sentence currently being served.

• California has the most populous prison system in the nation, with about 175,000 inmates.

• North Dakota has about 1,300 inmates, making its prison population the smallest in the U.S.

Crime in the U.S.

Persons Arrested

  • In 2007, the FBI estimated that 14,209,365 arrests occurred nationwide for all offenses (except traffic violations), of which 597,447 were for violent crimes, and 1,610,088 were for property crimes.
  • Law enforcement made more arrests for drug abuse violations (an estimated 1.8 million arrests, or 13.0 percent of the total number of arrests) than for any other offense in 2007.
  • Nationwide, the 2007 rate of arrests was estimated at 4,743.3 arrests per 100,000 inhabitants; for violent crime, the estimate was 200.2 per 100,000; and for property crime, the estimate was 544.1 per 100,000.
  • The number of arrests for violent crimes decreased 1.1 percent in 2007 when compared with arrest data from 2006.
  • The number of arrests for property crime increased 5.4 percent in 2007 when compared to 2006 arrest figures.
  • Arrests of juveniles (under 18 years of age) for murder rose 2.8 percent in 2007 when compared with 2006 arrest data.
  • Arrests of juveniles for motor vehicle theft decreased 14.0 percent over the same 2-year period.
  • In 2007, 75.8 percent of all persons arrested were male, 81.8 percent of persons arrested for violent crime were male, and 66.6 percent of persons arrested for property crime were male.
  • The majority (69.7 percent) of persons arrested in 2007 were white. Whites accounted for 58.9 and 67.9 percent of persons arrested for violent crimes and property crimes, respectively.
  • White juveniles comprised 67.0 percent of juveniles arrested in 2007.
  • Black juveniles accounted for 50.7 percent of juveniles arrested for violent crime, and white juveniles comprised 65.7 percent of juveniles arrested for property crime.

Violent Crime

  • Nationwide, an estimated 1,408,337 violent crimes occurred in 2007.
  • There were an estimated 466.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • When data for 2007 were compared with 2006 data, the estimated volume of violent crime declined 0.7 percent.
  • Aggravated assault accounted for 60.8 percent of violent crimes, the highest number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement. Robbery comprised 31.6 percent and forcible rape accounted for 6.4 percent. Murder accounted for 1.2 percent of estimated violent crimes in 2007.
  • In 2007, offenders used firearms in 68.0 percent of the Nation’s murders, 42.8 percent of robberies, and 21.4 percent of aggravated assaults. (Weapon data are not collected for forcible rape offenses.)


  • In 2007, there were an estimated 2,179,140 burglaries—a decrease of 0.2 percent when compared with 2006 data.
  • An examination of 5- and 10-year trends revealed an increase of 1.1 percent in the number of burglaries when compared with the 2003 estimate and a decline of 6.6 percent when compared with the 1998 estimate.
  • Burglary accounted for 22.1 percent of the estimated number of property crimes committed in 2007.
  • Of all burglaries, 61.1 percent involved forcible entry, 32.4 percent were unlawful entries (without force), and the remainder (6.5 percent) were forcible entry attempts.
  • In 2007, burglary offenses cost victims an estimated $4.3 billion in lost property; overall, the average dollar loss per burglary offense was $1,991.
  • Burglary of residential properties accounted for 67.9 percent of all burglary offenses.
  • Offenses for which time of occurrence was known showed that 57.4 percent of burglaries took place during the day and 42.6 percent at night.
  • Offenses for which time of occurrence was known showed that more residential burglaries (63.6 percent) occurred during the daytime while 56.4 percent of nonresidential burglaries occurred during nighttime hours.


  • During 2007, there were an estimated 6.6 million (6,568,572) larceny-thefts nationwide.
  • Among all property crimes, larceny-thefts accounted for an estimated 66.7 percent in 2007.
  • There was an estimated rate of 2,177.8 larceny-thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2007.
  • When compared with the 2006 figure, there was a 0.6-percent decrease in the estimated number of larceny-thefts in 2007. When compared with the 1998 estimate, the 2007 figure showed an 11.0-percent decline.
  • From 2006 to 2007, the rate of larceny-thefts declined 1.3 percent, and from 1998 to 2007, the rate declined 20.2 percent.
  • Larceny-theft offenses cost victims an estimated $5.8 billion dollars in lost property in 2007.
  • The average value of property taken during larceny-thefts was $886 per offense.

Motor Vehicle Theft

  • Nationwide in 2007, there were an estimated 1.1 million (1,095,769) thefts of motor vehicles.
  • The national rate for motor vehicle thefts was 363.3 per 100,000 residents.
  • In 2007, the estimated number of motor vehicle thefts decreased 8.1 percent from the 2006 estimate, 13.1 percent from the 2003 number, and 11.8 percent from the 1998 figure.
  • An estimated 93.1 percent of the Nation’s motor vehicle thefts occurred in Metropolitan Statistical Areas in 2007.
  • The estimated value of motor vehicles stolen in 2007 was $7.4 billion, averaging $6,755 per stolen vehicle.
  • Among vehicle types, automobiles accounted for 73.4 percent of the motor vehicles reported stolen in 2007.


  • In 2007, 14,197 law enforcement agencies (providing 1-12 months of arson data) reported 64,332 arsons. Of those agencies, 14,131 provided expanded offense data about 57,224 arsons.
  • Arsons involving structures (residential, storage, public, etc.) accounted for 42.9 percent of the total number of arson offenses. Mobile property was involved in 27.9 percent of arsons, and other types of property (such as crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for 29.2 percent of reported arsons.
  • The average dollar loss due to arson was $17,289.
  • Arsons of industrial/manufacturing structures resulted in the highest average dollar losses (an average of $114,699 per arson).
  • In 2007, arson offenses decreased 6.7 percent when compared with arson data reported in 2006.
  • Nationwide, the rate of arson was 24.7 offenses for every 100,000 inhabitants.