State officials reported statewide crime statistics for 2011 recently, and the numbers are a mixed bag. The crime rate reported for all offenses in North Carolina was the lowest it has been since 1977, but the murders rate rose by almost 6 percent during the same time period. While homicide may have been up, the rate of violent crimes, encompassing aggravated assault, robbery and rape, fell by 5.2 percent. Generic property offenses fell by 0.5 percent.
Commenting on the homicide rate, the state Attorney General said that the increase was largely attributable to an increase in domestic violence incidents and murders occurring in select areas, including the Triangle. Homicides in Greensboro last year increased by more than 100 percent over 2010, mounting up to 41. There were 27 murders in Durham, an increase of five from the year before. Homicides in Raleigh rose by three to 17, while Charlotte experienced an almost 10 percent decline in murders, registering 55 in 2011.
The increase in homicide rates in the state last year followed two years that saw the rate decline. The statistics released only indicate the number and type of crime reported. State officials pointed out that the data does not reveal anything at all about how many of those crimes were supposedly solved.
Some crimes are not currently counted in the state’s crime index. Those include use of online mechanisms for the sexual exploitation of children, possession or creation of child pornography, abuse of prescription drugs, and methamphetamine labs, often in homes where children may be present. A total of 344 arrests involving methamphetamine laboratories were made in the state last year. Child pornography offenses are believed to be on the rise, and approximately 1,000 individuals suffered prescription drug overdoses in 2011.
Source: News & Observer, “N.C. murder rate up, but overall crime rate is lowest since 1977,” Thomasi McDonald, July 12, 2012