LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Federal data shows the level of violent crimes dropping in the Natural State, something the head of Arkansas State Police attributes to law enforcement getting back to the basics.

FBI crime data figures show violent crime in Arkansas took a significant drop in 2022. These numbers buck a trend after being on a fairly steady climb since 2013 and making significant jumps in 2020 and 2021.

The 2022 figures were just released last week and drawn from data submitted from law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Violent crimes include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and for 2022 the rate for these crimes was 645.3 incidents per 100,000 people, or 15,542 incidents in total.

In 2021, the violent crime rate was much higher at 702.4 incidents per 100,000 people. That was the state’s highest recorded year since 1985, when this kind of data collection started. The next-highest year for violent crime was 2020, according to FBI figures, with 671.9 incidents per 100,000 people.

Col. Mike Hagar, director of the Arkansas State Police and state Secretary of Public Safety, said the return of “Big Hat Law” is one of the factors leading to the decline of these crime rates.

“At Arkansas State Police, we talk a lot about the Big Hat Law being back. That means returning to straightforward, unapologetic policing, earning back the trust of our citizens and being good neighbors,” he said.

Hagar said the focused collaboration between departments and an emphasis on violent crime across the state is a factor in the rate lowering.

“I have made it a priority to strengthen relationships with our local, state and federal partners because the only way to enhance safety and security in our communities is to put differences aside and work together,” Hagar said. “I believe it is this collaborative, multi-faceted approach that has reduced the state’s overall crime rate. We have focused our efforts on violent crime, adopting an intentional action plan that draws its strength from solidarity.”

Arkansas still remains well above the national average in terms of rates of violent crime, which most recently was recorded at 380.7 incidents per 100,000 people. FBI statistics show that Arkansas has topped the national average since 2004.