Connecticut’s violent crime rate increased slightly from 2015 to 2016, but its murder rate fell dramatically to its lowest point in decades, running counter to a national trend, according to FBI data released Monday.

Nationally, the murder rate increased for the second straight year, but remains well below peak rates of decades ago.

The administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was quick to place the annual data in a broader context showing Connecticut’s violent crime rate still improved compared to other states, falling from 6th to 5th. It was 18th in 2012.

There were 8,123 violent crimes in Connecticut in 2015, up 2.3 percent from 7,938. The violent crime rate was 227 per 100,000 residents in Connecticut, compared with a rate of 397 per 100,000 nationwide.

Despite the one-year increase, Connecticut saw a nation-leading 20 percent decline in violent crimes from 2012 to 2016, according to an analysis by the state’s Office of Policy and Management. Going back two more years, the decline from 2010, when Malloy was elected to 2016 was about the same, 19 percent.

New Jersey was second, with a four-year drop of 16 percent, followed by Florida (12 percent), Pennsylvania (11 percent) and South Carolina (10 percent.) Connecticut’s border states of New York and Massachusetts fell by 7 percent; Rhode Island dropped 6 percent.

Property crimes fell by 1.4 percent in Connecticut last year. Burglaries were down 2.3 percent; larcenies, 2.8 percent.

“Because of smart, data driven policies and reforms to our criminal justice system, we have made Connecticut neighborhoods safer than they have been in nearly two generations,” Malloy said in an emailed statement.

The Malloy administration has closely tracked the falling rates of crime and incarceration in Connecticut, touting savings as it has closed prisons.

“As fewer people commit crimes and become incarcerated, we are not only improving communities but also saving taxpayer dollars and allowing the state to better focus our resources on education and social services,” Malloy said.

There were 78 murders in 2016 in Connecticut, down from 115 the previous year. That’s the lowest number of murders since 1969. The number of murders fluctuates quite a bit in any given year.

Bridgeport and Hartford both saw the fewest murders in a decade in 2016.

Jake was Data Editor at CT Mirror. He is a former managing editor of The Ridgefield Press, a Hersam Acorn newspaper. He worked for the community newspaper chain as a reporter and editor for five years before joining the Mirror staff. He studied professional writing at Western Connecticut State University and is a graduate student in software engineering at Harvard Extension School.

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