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FBI study: Crime up locally
Report reveals increase in violent, property crimes

CONYERS - Newton and Rockdale counties saw increases in violent and property crimes despite downward trends nationwide, according to new data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI's report of Crime in the United States released Monday showed that violent crime - including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault - increased by 2.9 percent in Newton County between 2007 and 2008. The actual number of violent crimes increased by a total of 10 cases over the 12-month period, from 336 to 346.

Rape showed the greatest percentage increase at 60 percent, though the number of actual cases increased from five to eight. Newton County had eight murder or manslaughter cases in 2008, one more than the previous year, which translated into a 14 percent increase. There were 38 reports of robbery, compared to 31 the year before (23 percent increase), and 292 reports of aggravated assault, compared to 293 in 2007 (.003 percent decrease).

There was also an increase in property crime reported in Newton County, according to the FBI report. There were 404 more reports of property crime in 2008 than in the previous year, or a 25 percent increase.

The largest increase was reported in larceny/theft cases, with 992 reported in 2008 compared to 765 in 2007, or an increase of 30 percent. The county also saw an increase in burglaries reported. The FBI report showed Newton County had 606 reported incidents of burglary in 2007 compared to 770 incidents in 2008, an increase of 27 percent.

In Rockdale County, the FBI's crime report showed incidents of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault showed an increase of 12 percent in 2008. The FBI report showed 329 incidents of violent crime reported in 2008, up from 293 incidents in 2007.

Rape and robbery rose significantly. Incidents of rape jumped from 8 in 2007 to 24 last year, an increase of 200 percent. There were 16 more incidents of robbery reported in the county last year, according to the report, an increase of 30 percent.

Rockdale County's incidents of murder or non-negligent manslaughter jumped from one in 2007 to four last year, an increase of 300 percent. Aggravated assaults were about the same - 231 in 2007 and 232 in 2008.

Michael Camp, Rockdale County Sheriff's Office crime analyst, noted the bulk of violent crimes there came from robberies; however, he said the total number of incidents must be taken into consideration as well as the percentage changes.

"The reason for that high of an increase was going from such low numbers from 53 to 69 robberies," Camp said. "DeKalb had 2,804 to 2,933 for an increase of only 4.6 percent, which shows that low numbers account for high percentage increases and high numbers account for lower percentage increases."

Property crimes rose significantly more with 484 more incidents reported in 2008 from the previous year, up by 23 percent. Larceny theft made up the bulk of the increase with burglary and motor vehicle theft remaining about the same or slightly up.

The numbers tell a different story on the national level. The FBI reported that crime declined for the second straight year, down 1.9 percent, across the country in 2008. Each of the four categories of violent crime offenses showed declines, including murder and manslaughter, down 3.9 percent; aggravated assault, down 2.5 percent; and rape, down 1.6 percent.

Property crimes nationally declined for the sixth straight year led in part by a 12.7 percent drop in motor vehicle thefts. Burglaries and larceny thefts showed small increases from a year earlier, according to the FBI report.

In Georgia, the violent crime reports dropped slightly in 2008. The state had 46,384 violent crime incidents reported in 2008, compared with 47,075 incidents reported 2007.

The FBI reported a slight increase in property crime reported in Georgia in 2008. The state had 388,935 incidents of property crime in 2008, compared to 372,342 incidents in 2007.

For more information, go to www.fbi.gov.