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Crime rates mixed across state; Brunswick County sees drop

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper has released the 2007 statewide crime rates.

While crime across North Carolina rose by .1 percent in 2007, the violent crime rate dropped by .7 percent, Cooper said.

“While no level of crime is acceptable, law enforcement’s work to keep the rate of violent crime down is much needed,” Cooper added. “But as any cop on the beat will tell you, when the economy goes down, crime goes up, and we’re troubled to see even a small increase in North Carolina’s overall crime rate.”

The overall rate of index crime per 100,000 people in North Carolina increased .1 percent compared to 2006, the press release states. The rate of violent crime per 100,000 North Carolinians dropped .7 percent, according to reports submitted to the State Bureau of Investigation from law enforcement agencies across the state.

Brunswick County’s overall rate of index crime per 100,000 people decreased in 2007 to 4,226.4 from 4,676.5 in 2006—below the 2007 statewide average index crime rate of 4,685.9. The violent crime rate in Brunswick County dropped to 260.8 from 270.9 in 2006, also below the statewide rate of 480.2.

According to the press release, rates rose in one violent crime category—murder—by 8.5 percent. Rates for three other violent crime categories fell, with rapes down 5.2 percent, robberies down .4 percent, and aggravated assaults down 0.6 percent.

The rate of property crimes—burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft—increased by .2 percent statewide, the release states. Reports of larceny rose 1.5 percent, while reports of burglary dropped .2 percent and reports of motor vehicle theft fell 8.7 percent.

Adult arrests for reported offenses declined 4 percent, while juvenile arrests for those crimes were down 3 percent.

Property crime rates in Brunswick County dropped to 3,965.6 in 2007 from 4,405.7 in 2006.

Despite the slight rise in the crime rate for 2007, North Carolina’s overall reported crime rate has fallen nearly 15 percent in the past 10 years, according to the press release.

The rate of property crime is down nearly 14 percent compared to a decade ago, and the rate of violent crime has dropped nearly 20 percent in the same period, according to the release. This decrease in the crime rate has come during a time when the state’s population has grown by 19.1 percent.

“We cannot rest on our long-term record of falling crime rates,” Cooper said. “We must keep pushing for tougher sentences and better technology so law enforcement and prosecutors can stay ahead of the criminals.”

The North Carolina Uniform Crime Reporting Program is part of a nationwide effort administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Calculations for crime rates used population data from the N.C. Office of State Budget, Planning and Management.

For more information about 2007 crime statistics, go to www.ncdoj.gov.

Click “Crime and Law Enforcement,” then “Crime Statistics.” To view or print a summary of 2007 crime statistics, click “2007 Annual Summary Report.”

See “Offenses and Clearances by Agency” for other statistics broken down by region.