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Stranger Murders Increasing In Raleigh

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh police said more and more murder cases involve victims who did not know their killers.

Until recently, Raleigh had a small-town quality when it came to big-time crime, according to the police department's point person for psychological profiling.

"I think Raleigh was Mayberry because people trusted people, there was more of a concept of neighbors. People had a certain trust that they didn't have to lock the door," said Dr. Michael Teague, of the Raleigh Police Department.

Teague said a new type of crime has changed Raleigh's image.

"There's an increase in stranger murders, and that's consistent with more of your big, metropolitan areas," he said.

Those stranger murder victims include

Eric Bish

, 30, a North Carolina State University researcher who was shot at the Method Road post office in May 2000 and

Juliann Bolt

, 32, who was raped and killed by a neighbor she did not know in her apartment complex gym in June 2000.

More recently, the rape and strangulation of

Stephanie Bennett

serves as another possible example, although her killer has not been caught.

"In the Stephanie Bennett case, there's no evidence that Stephanie knew the person," Teague said.

Teague believes the city remains a safe place overall. He said the appearance of the stranger crimes for the first time is simply the function of a growing population.

"The more we have diverse people coming into the area, it increases the likelihood that these types of offenses can happen," he said.

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