By Michael Hernandez
Violent crime rose across the U.S. for a second straight year in 2016, but remained near historic lows, according to FBI data released Monday.
The violent crime rate was up 3.4 percent last year, which the Department of Justice said is the largest jump in 25 years.
The department made particular mention of the national homicide rate it said increased by nearly 8 percent, making for a total increase of more than 20 percent since 2014.
The number was significantly increased by a boom in murders in cities with populations of more than 250,000. The FBI tracked a nearly 13 percent year-on-year increase in the localities.
Cases of rape were up 3.5 percent, robbery increased 1 percent and aggravated assault rose 5 percent.
Still, violent crime was down 18 percent from 2007, while the murder rate also down 6 percent in that time.
"For the sake of all Americans, we must confront and turn back the rising tide of violent crime. And we must do it together,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement accompanying the new figures.
Sessions and President Donald Trump frequently point to increased violent crime to justify their tougher approach to law enforcement that calls for harsher sentencing for offenses and increased arrests.