Raleigh, N.C. — Homicides, rapes and robberies fell to five-year lows in Raleigh last year, while gang activity and the overall crime rate also dropped, according to a report released by Raleigh police Wednesday.
Major crimes in Raleigh – which include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft – fell 7.18 percent in 2010, compared to a year earlier. The rate of major crimes was 3,707.92 crimes per 100,000 people.
Gang-related incidents dropped from 1,417 in 2009 to 875 in 2010, a 38 percent decline. Police said they developed new strategies and partnered with community groups to combat gang activity over the past year.
The number of homicides fell to 14 last year – down 60 percent from 35 homicides in 2008.
Most of the decline happened in southeast Raleigh, where police have stepped up beat patrols and community outreach efforts. Twenty-one slayings occurred there in 2008, but only three in 2010.
Robberies fell to 682 last year from a five-year high of 1,065 in 2008. The largest decrease occurred in home invasions, at 36.25 percent.
The report attributed the drop in robberies to police tactics targeting robberies and repeat offenders and to recent training in robbery suppression for all officers.
Burglaries declined about 5.5 percent from a spike in 2009 to 3,043 last year. That brings it nearly down to the 2006 level of burglaries.
Larcenies also fell 7.6 percent from a 2009 spike to 9,183, in the line with the five-year average.
Motor vehicle thefts went up from 911 in 2009 to 957 in 2010, but remain below 2006 levels.
Arrests for prostitution and drug violations went up dramatically between 2008 and 2010 as police more aggressively enforced those laws. Prostitution arrests went up 259 percent, and drug arrests were up 9.6 percent.
Police stated in the report that they concentrated on those offenses because they are often related to violent crime involving drug dealing.
Police credited the drop in crime to new strategies including putting more officers on the street, regularly interacting with people in the same neighborhoods. Police also reached out at-risk youths, creating mentor programs, baseball and basketball leagues and summer camps.
The police department plans to expand those initiatives to the northern and northeastern sections of Raleigh this year.