“The rates are the lowest experienced in the last 30 years,” Justice Department statistician Shannan Catalona says in the report. “Crime rates have stabilized.” The survey is based on interviews with people in 84,000 households and shows a steady decline from 1993 until 2002 in the rates of violent crime and property crimes before those numbers leveled off in 2003.

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The new survey put the rate for property crimes of burglary, theft and motor-vehicle theft in 2003 at 163 for every 1,000 people, compared with 159 the year before. The slight increase was not considered statistically significant and a decade ago, the rate was 319 property crimes per 1,000 people, the study says.

The number of victims of violent crimes for 2003 was 23 per 1,000 people, down from 50 in 1993.

The FBI publishes the more comprehensive Uniform Crime Report, which is drawn off statistics from law enforcement agencies nationwide and is expected to be released in the coming month. Preliminary numbers from the FBI report were released in May.

The survey found that property crimes occurred most often in the West in 2003 with 207 crimes per 1,000 households. There was also a tendency for crime to strike people who rent rather than own their home (206 crimes vs. 143 crimes per 1,000) and in urban areas (216 crimes per 1,000) rather than suburban or rural areas (145 and 137 per 1,000, respectively).