However, police say murder rates do not always reflect the overall violent crime trend. The rates create a perception, but people in one average Raleigh neighborhood believe perception does mirror reality.
Howard Cannon says the Mordecai section of Raleigh is a typical neighborhood. Some sections look good, and others need improvement.
However, the neighborhood association president believes crime where he lives is limited to mostly petty offenses these days.
That is why a 50 percent drop in the number of murders in Raleigh does not surprise Cannon.
"As of late, things have been much better thanks to the police department and the movement of the area upward," said Cannon.
Raleigh Policepoint out that there is a number of reasons we are seeing fewer murders besides a strong economy.
"Particularly with our drug and vice units working special projects and really keeping the pressure on those people in those areas. If we can displace those people and not have so many gathered in one particular place, it seems to slow down some of the violence in those areas," said Lt. Gerald Britt of the Raleigh Police Department.
People like Cannon believe the city's murder rate will keep going down.
"We expect things to get better and better," said Cannon.
The murder totals are pretty complete with just one week left in the year, but that one week can make a big difference. Durham had four murders in the final seven days of 1998.
Fayetteville has 13 homicides this year which is down from 15, and Orange County has two so far in 1999 which is down from four.
Wake County was one of the only places where the rate went up from three last year to 10 this year.
Maj. Danny Bellamy of the Wake County Sheriff's Department says it is hard for a community with half a million people to stay at three homicides a year.