National murder rates see

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 9, 2000

lowest level in 30 years


Staff Writer

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Pike County is not the only place where homicides are in decline. The decreasing homicide rate here follows a nationwide trend, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

With the largest cities leading the way, the nation’s murder rate in 1997 fell to its lowest level in three decades, said "Homicide Trends in the United States," which is published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Much of the decline was in those cities with more than one million inhabitants, where the rate fell from 35.5 per 100,000 population in 1991 to 20.3 per 100,000 in 1998, the report said. The sharp increase in homicides in the late 1980s and much of the subsequent decline are attributed to a rise and fall in gun violence by juveniles and young adults. Despite the encouraging improvement since 1992, the levels of gun homicides by juveniles and young adults are well above those of the mid-’80s.

"Homicide is of interest not only because of its severity but also because it is fairly reliable barometer of all violent crime," according to a justice department spokesman. "At a national level, no other crime is measured as accurately and precisely."

Although the murder rate is in decline, members of the Troy Police Department are concerned about the high number of property crimes reported last year, said Chief Anthony Everage.

This is where the department plans to focus its efforts in the new year, Everage said.

"We’re fixing to start a neighborhood watch program once we move back into the Public Safety Building," he said.