Courts & Crime

North Carolina crime at 25-year low

The N.C. crime rate dropped to its lowest level in 25 years last year, according to numbers released Wednesday, but exactly why is subject to debate.

State and federal law enforcement officials were quick to take credit for the improvement, while others say factors such as an aging population and even the down economy could have contributed.

The overall crime rate dropped 8.8 percent in 2009, while violent crime was down 12.5 percent compared with the previous year, State Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday. It was the sharpest single-year drop in crime rates since North Carolina began statewide crime reporting in 1973, he said.

"This is good news for North Carolina's economic development, our safety and our quality of life," Cooper said during a news conference.

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