Updated 07/12/2012 06:15 PM
Attorney general urges lawmakers to act to keep crime rates low
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RALEIGH -- North Carolina experienced its lowest crime rate in more than three decades in 2011.
On Thursday, Attorney General Roy Cooper released crime statistics based on data provided by the State Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies across the state.
While crime dropped in several areas, reports show there were more murders in the state in 2011 compared to 2010.
Statistics show there were more homicide victims in 2011 compared to 2010. In 2011, there were 501 murder victims versus 468 victims in 2010.
However, statistics indicate a decrease in other violent crimes including rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults.
"We need to make sure we do the right thing and keep up with this and we are falling behind," expressed Cooper, who feels lawmakers have made significant budget cuts to public safety over the past several years that are already taking their toll and could get even worse. "There are ominous warning that our state legislature must heed."
Cooper believes law enforcement needs more officers, agents and forensic scientists who all require training, equipment and enough pay to remain competitive.
"There are going to be services that aren't going to be able to perform and those choices are going to have to be made as a result."
Some agencies are already coping with the cuts.
"The Department of Public Safety will have approximately 15,000 more probationers to supervise without getting any probation officers to supervise them," said Cooper.
To keep the number of victims from rising, Cooper urges legislators to act before it's too late.
"We will continue to fight the fight but we risk losing ground," he said.
Based on reports from the 10 largest sheriff offices in the state, Randolph, Davidson, Onslow, Buncombe and Wake Counties experience the biggest increases in crime in 2011.