Crime down in Robeson County
by Adelina Shee Staff writer
LUMBERTON — Overall crime in Robeson County dropped during 2012, but it remains No. 1 in violence in the state, according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Justice and State Bureau of Investigation.
The report said that violent crimes, which include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, increased in Robeson County by 3.5 percent to 809.5 acts of crime per 100,000 people in 2012. That compared with the state rate of 358.6 acts of violent crime per 100,000,
It was the third straight year Robeson County has led the state in violent crime. Edgecombe County followed Robeson with a violent crime rate of 732.6 per 100,000 people. Durham County came in third with a rate of 665.6 per 100,000 people.
According to Randall Graham, a spokesperson with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, the violent crime rate for the unincorporated areas in the county is 549.3 per 100,000 people. Graham said the increase in violent crime rates as reflected in the report can be attributed to the rise in violent crimes within town limits.
“Lumberton has violent crime rate of 2,086.4 per 100,000 residents,” Graham said.
In Robeson County, the number of property crimes — burglary, larceny and motor vehicle thefts — fell 6.3 percent to 5,973.7 acts of crime per 100,000 people in 2012. The state property crime rate was 3,408.6 acts per 100,000 people.
From 2011 to 2012, the overall index crime rate for Robeson County fell 5.1 percent to 6,783.2 acts of crime per 100,000 people in 2012. Information from the report was submitted by various law enforcement agencies.
The report is based on information from the Robeson County Sheriff’s Department and police departments in Lumberton, Fairmont, Pembroke, Red Springs, Lumber River State Park, Maxton, Rowland, St. Pauls and at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
The state’s overall crime rate was 3,767.2 acts of crime per 100,000 people in 2012.
The report said the overall rate of crime per 100,000 people in North Carolina decreased by 4.4 percent compared with 2011. The SBI said that is the state’s lowest rate since 1976.
Attorney General Roy Cooper called the statewide statistics encouraging, but added that he was concerned that budget cuts will translate into fewer police officers on the street and investigators in the field.
“When you ask people how they want their tax dollars invested, public safety ranks very high on the list,” Cooper said in a statement. “We must invest in well-trained officers and modern crime fighting tools and if we don’t, I’m concerned that public safety will pay the price.”
The attorney general also said he’s worried the state’s crime lab is overburdened and needs more help to perform its duties.
“A growing state needs to put more cops on the street, more investigators in the field, and more scientists in the crime lab, but we cannot do that if we don’t adequately fund law enforcement,” Cooper said.
However, the rate of violent crime per 100,000 North Carolinians rose 0.6 percent. Among violent crimes, rape decreased 1 percent, robbery dropped 3 percent and murder decreased 3.8 percent, while aggravated assault rose 2.4 percent, the report said.
The statewide rate of property crimes such as burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft decreased by 4.9 percent.
The report said the larceny rate fell 3.4 percent, the motor vehicle theft rate fell 5.8 percent, and the burglary rate fell 7.9.
The report said the latest statistics mark the fourth year in a row that North Carolina has seen its lowest crime rate in decades and continues the state’s long-term trend of falling crime rates crime rates.
Compared with a decade ago, the overall crime rate is down 20.3 percent and the rate of violent crime is down 21.4 percent, the report said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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