But those numbers only tell part of the story, reports CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston.
"I think you have to look at real cities," says Chuck Wexler, of the police executive research forum. "I think you have to look at places like Cincinnati and Indianapolis and Milwaukee, Boston, Oakland, Calif., — real cities — and you'll see there's been real significant increases."
Wexler heads a research group that tracks crime in medium and large cities.
In those locations, between 2004 and 2006, homicides increased 10.2 percent and robbery was up 12.2 percent.
Wexler points to several factors for the increase.
"I think it's people coming out of prison in record numbers, I think it's more guns on the street."
The increase in crime is a dramatic reversal from the 1990s when violent crime was at all time lows, dropping 26 percent. The murder rate went down 34 percent. The reduction is credited in part to a federally funded program called C.O.P.S. that added 100,000 police officers to America's streets.
Democrats in Congress blame the latest crime spike on Bush administration budget cuts in the police hiring program.
On Friday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales insisted the numbers do not indicate a national trend.
"No one answer, no one approach, no one government agency can solve the violent crime problems that these communities face," he said at a news conference. "Each city's solutions must be tailored to its particular situation."
Gonzales says violent crime impact teams will be sent to four more cities, bringing the total to 29 receiving special federal assistance. But Democrats want the Bush administration to restore federal funds, so cities can hire more police officers.