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U.S. crime rate rising, but fewer Americans believe it: Gallup poll

By Curtis Skinner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fewer Americans are aware that violent crime has been on the rise in the United States for the past few years, according to a Gallup poll published on Thursday.

The poll, conducted early this month, found that 64 percent of Americans feel that crime is increasing, down from 68 percent who felt that way in 2011, the poll found. That decline came despite the fact that the rate of violent crimes including rape, robbery and assault, rose by more than one-third from 2010 to 2012, according to federal data.

"Now, with crime ticking up, Americans are slightly less likely to believe crime is getting worse than they were two years ago," Gallup researchers wrote in the report. "This could change next year if the 2013 data reveal another increase in crime. But for now, this worrisome trend doesn't seem to have caught Americans' attention," Gallup researchers wrote in the report."

Crime not reported to the police and simple assault accounted for the majority of the increase in crime rates between 2011 and 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, which publish the victimization data used by Gallup. The bureau also said that violent crimes rates increased slightly among blacks in 2012, but remained stable for whites and Hispanics.

Concerns about local crime were similarly muted, with just 41 percent of the roughly 1,000 people polled believing that crime was on the rise in their area, down from a recent high of 51 percent who believed that in 2009.

The study has a 4 point margin of error.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Scott Malone and Bob Burgdorfer)

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