Violent Crime Down in Utah and the Nation

Violent Crime Down in Utah and the Nation

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The number of violent crimes declined both nationally and in Utah last year, according to statistics compiled by the FBI.

Nationwide, the number of violent crimes fell by 1.2 percent and property crimes -- burglaries, larceny/theft and car theft -- dropped 1.1 percent in 2004 compared to 2003.

In Utah, there was a 4.2 percent drop in total violent crimes from 2003 to 2004.

In Utah in 2003, there were 60 homicides, 919 rapes, 1,258 robberies and 3,652 aggravated assaults.

In 2004, homicides dropped to 46. Rapes went up to 943 but robberies decreased to 1,236. Aggravated assaults also dropped to 3,424.

Ogden police Lt. Scott Conley said much of the increase in the rape numbers may be due to more frequent reporting of the crime.

"It's become a more reportable offense," Conley said. "It's not a crime that occurs in secret as much as it used to."

Conley said changes in how crimes are recorded may also contribute to the increase. What was classified by police as child abuse may now be classified as rape, he said.

In Utah, there were 250.4 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2003, while last year there were 236 per 100,000 residents.

A factor in the decline may be the focus on community-oriented policing, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Jaroscak.

Community-oriented policing is an effort by officers to contact residents and business owners and teach them how to recognize the symptoms of crimes. That way, officers are being proactive rather than reactive, Jaroscak said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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