Violent Crime Up as City Homicides Spur 11% Hike in Total Murders for 2015

PHOTO: Antonio Brown, left, father of Amari Brown, is embraced by a community member, July 6, 2015, in Chicago.Christian K. Lee/AP Photo
Antonio Brown, left, father of Amari Brown, is embraced by a community member, July 6, 2015, in Chicago. Authorities say 7-year-old Amari Brown, who was celebrating the Fourth of July with his family, was among three people who were shot and killed in Chicago.

Cities across the country suffered an uptick in violent crime last year, including a nearly 11 percent jump in murders from the year before, according to new statistics compiled by the FBI.

There were 1,197,704 violent crimes committed around the nation last year -- a 3.9 percent increase from 2014, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. However, last year's statistics were still slightly lower than in 2011, and more than 16 percent below the 2006 level, the FBI said today.

It's important to note that big jumps in violent crime in only a handful of U.S. cities can drive the national average up. Some cities, like Chicago and Los Angeles, saw more than 24,000 violent crimes each last year, while so many other cities and towns across the country experienced single-digit or no violent crimes at all.

Overall, murders accounted for nearly 15,700 of last year's violent crimes, and nearly three-quarters of them were committed with firearms, according to the FBI report.

"The report shows that there was an overall increase in violent crime last year, making clear what each of us already knows: that we still have so much work to do," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a violent-reduction summit in Little Rock, Arkansas. "But the report also reminds us of the progress that we are making. It shows that in many communities, crime has remained stable or even decreased from the historic lows reported in 2014. And it is important to remember that while crime did increase overall last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades."

Lynch said the nation must not become "complacent" about violent crime.

"The residents of communities where violence remains a fact of daily life care little whether overall crime rates are up and down," she said. "And in the raft of data and analysis that can so often define our work, we must never forget that all of our numbers reflect the lives of real people."

She emphasized that "there is no single cause of violence, and solutions will vary from one community to another."