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Violent Crime Down in Fayetteville

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Violent crime is down in Fayetteville, despite population growth from annexation.
FAYETTEVILLE — Cumberland County's reputation hassuffered in years past because of its violent crime rate,and over the lastfew months, sheriff's investigators have been swamped with murder cases. But Fayetteville police have had no such problem, as of late.

It's been two years since a horrifying hate crime put Fayetteville inthe national news. Weeks later, a study ranked this city the ninth mostdangerous in the country. In 1995, there were 19 murders here. Last year,there were 14 murders. So far this year, there have been only eight.

Captain Brad Chandler of the Fayetteville Police Department says it isa surprising trend.

Police admit luck played a part in the decrease. They say plenty ofpeople are still being shot, just not killed. Overall, however, violentcrime has fallen seven percent this year and property crime is down onepercent. Chandler says that's not bad when you consider that Fayettevilleis actually more populous now because of annexation.

Police say law enforcement deserves some of the credit, but so does thecommunity. Citizens are getting more involved in fighting crime. CecilBarefoot goes out on patrol as a member of the Sherman Drive CommunityWatch. He says he's encouraged by the drop in crime in his neighborhoodand across the city.

Police say they believe the city has turned a corner on crime, but theyare quick to warn that this is not a time to let up in the fight againstit.

Fayetteville police say people need to be especially protective againstrobberies, which are on the rise.

Photographer:Rick Allen

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