Despite decrease in crime, residents cautiously optimistic

June 29, 2011 2:16:26 PM PDT
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says crime statewide has not been as low as it is in 33 years.

However, violence persists in Triangle.

Cooper points to a 10 percent drop in violent crime since 2010, saying numbers and assaults are the lowest since the state began collecting crime data in the 1970s. Overall, there were just fewer than 4,000 crimes per 100,000 people reported across the state last year.

The Attorney General said Wednesday training, technology and a focus on prevention have all contributed to bringing down crime rates.

It's a benchmark Triangle residents find hard to believe.

"My perception is as I've gotten older I listen to the news more and I hear about them," Raleigh resident Esther Burwell said.

In some instances, it's worse.

A closer look at the state's annual crime report paints a much different picture in the Triangle. When it comes to assaults, Durham experienced an increase compared to last year. Wake, Orange and Johnston counties experienced a slight decrease.

As for murders, Johnston County's rate more than tripled. Only Orange County had a decrease compared to Durham and Wake where murders increased.

Despite Cooper's announcment, residents are cautiously optimistic.

"I wouldn't let my 5-year-old go out in the street now, but back in the day my parents used to let us out at eight and we would get home seven or eight in the evening," Triangle resident Michelle Proctor said. "Times have changed."

Cooper says budget cuts to law enforcement could reserve the downward trend in crime statewide. He's urging more funding for crime fighting efforts.

The State Bureau of Investigation has to cut 9 percent of its budget, and the state Highway Patrol potentially faces layoffs.

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