Crime rates fell significantly across the U.S. in 2009, even with economic turmoil and high unemployment, according to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report.

Violent crimes fell 5.5 percent and property crimes declined 4.9 percent compared with 2008, according to the preliminary report.

An overall decline in reported crimes came for the third straight year. The last increase was in 2006.

Here's an excerpt from the New York Times story:

The steepest decline was in robbery reports - 8.1 percent - followed by murder with a 7.2 percent decline overall. However, there were some exceptions: murders rose by 1.8 percent in rural areas, and by 5.3 percent in cities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 inhabitants.

Read the full story.

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