The number of crimes in Connecticut dropped 3 percent last year, despite a jump in the number of violent crimes, the FBI reported Monday.

The data were part of the FBI’s annual national crime report that showed that there were more crimes committed in the United States in 2001, an increase that coincided with an economic downturn that many experts say played a key role. Murder, armed robbery, rape and burglary all were higher across the country, the FBI reported.

“The economy has to be the prime suspect,” said James Lynch, professor at American University’s Department of Justice, Law and Society.

The national crime index increased 2.1 percent last year, according to the crime report, which was drawn from 17,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. That marked the first year-to-year increase since 1991.

Still, the number of crimes was 18 percent lower than a decade ago and 10 percent fewer than in 1997.

The index measures four violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault) and three property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft).

Connecticut statistics show that the numbers of property crime, forcible rape, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft fell, while violent crime, murder, robbery and aggravated assault rose in 2001.

The largest increase came in robbery, which jumped 9.2 percent to 4,183 cases.

–Associated Press