Violent Crimes Down This Year - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/10/02

Violent Crimes Down This Year

The latest national numbers on crime show violent crimes in our country continue to decline.  The survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics said violent crimes dropped 9 percent last year.

So far this year, the coast crime numbers are following that national trend. It's the first time in nine years the coast is on track to have a decrease in violent crime.

There were 33, 807 crimes last year in the three coastal counties. That's approximately one crime every thirty seconds. Experts say those numbers translate into higher risks for every citizens.

"So actually your chances, and mine, of being in one of our top ten crimes, that we keep up with, was one in ten, or one in eleven, depending on if you counted the visitors or not," Mississippi Coast Crime Commission Director Bob Waterbury said.

Bob Waterbury has tracked Coast Crime since 1993. Every year he's seen the numbers go up, so far this year the number are down.

"For the first seven months of this year, compared to the first seven months of last year, though July each year, crime is down 8.3 percent, this is just flat amazing," Waterbury said.

Almost all kinds of crime have decreased including drunk driving, car thefts, robbery, even violent crimes like assault and rape are on the decline.

"Over the past few years, there's been a strong emphasis by all the states and the federal government, on the three strikes and your out, and the violent crimes and putting the violent criminals and incarcerated them for long periods of time instead of paroling them out putting them on probation, Biloxi Police Chief Bruce Dunagan said.

"I think that law enforcement has done a much better job of coordinating their efforts between the various agencies, as well as between the state, federal, and county jurisdictions," Gulfprt Police Deputy Chief Steve Barnes said.

The one crime on the rise across the nation is murder. Last year, the coast murder rate was up dramatically, with 37 murders in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson Counties.Waterbury says this year is on pace to match that.

Crime fell in each of the regions of the United States, but the Midwest showed the most drastic decline, 19.7percent.

By Nathan Mihelich

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