The overall crime rate in North Carolina continued to decline last year, reaching the lowest level since 1974, according to a report released this week by the State Bureau of Investigation.
Crime rates also declined in each county of the Triangle, but two cities – Cary and Durham – reported an increase in the number of crimes, in both cases because of a growing number of property crimes.
Statewide, the crime rate dropped 7 percent last year, continuing a downward trend that began in 2005. The rate of violent crime – murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – was 339.5 per 100,000 residents, while the property crime rate – burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft – was 3,166.6.
The most dramatic decline in recent years has been in motor vehicle thefts, largely thanks to increasingly common antitheft technology such as ignition immobilizers that prevent a vehicle from starting without the owner’s key. The motor vehicle theft rate per 100,000 residents last year was 149.2, down 57 percent since 2006.
In the Triangle, the report shows:
• Cary: The number of index crimes rose 9 percent last year, driven largely by increases in burglaries and larcenies.
• Durham: The number of index crimes in the city rose 3 percent, again because of property crimes. The number of homicides was up, but robberies and aggravated assaults were down.
• Johnston County: The crime rate in the county declined nearly 18 percent, the biggest drop of any county in the Triangle.
Statewide, arrests among juveniles under age 18 for violent crimes ticked up last year by less than 1 percent, following nearly a decade of declines. Still, violent crime arrests among juveniles were down about 39 percent last year compared to 2004.