Local News

Fayetteville And Cumberland Murder Rates Dropping

Posted January 17, 2005 9:07 a.m. EST

— The murder rate in Fayetteville and Cumberland County is dropping, even as the population grows.

The recent decrease comes after a three-year spike from 2000 to 2002.

Jesse Kirkland, a long-time resident, lives near Murchison Road and is active in the community watch program. He's noticed the drop in murders.

"Well, it's down from what it used to be," Kirkland said. "It used to have a murder here at least once or twice a week."

The numbers from the last 10 years tell the same story. Combined, the city and county had more than 30 murders every year except two.

Recently, the murder rates fell into the 20s, which came as the population was growing. The last two years, the city of Fayetteville had 14 murders each year. In 1996, there were also 14, but the city had 16,000 fewer people.

Fayetteville police detective Capt. Brad Chandler believes the difference rests with local programs. Other than that, he said, there's no simple answer.

"If I had a magic solution, I could probably make a whole lot of money selling it to other communities," Chandler said. "There is no magic solution."

Cumberland County Sheriff Moose Butler credits stricter handgun laws better training and equipment for paramedics and more community policing.

"Hopefully, we'll maintain this forever," Butler said. "But, there's always that 'but.' You don't know."

Kirkland adds another reason to the list: community watch groups -- such as the one he volunteers with.

"Somebody's watching you," Kirkland said. "They might now show themselves, but, they watching you."

Over the past decade, Fayetteville and Cumberland County added 50,000 people, but had seven fewer murders.