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Overall Crime Drops In NC But Murders Rise

Overall crime across the state is down by nearly one percent, according to the latest statistics from the North Carolina Department of Justice. That makes the 2011 crime rate the state's lowest since 1977. It also marks the third consecutive year of decline. It's not all good news, though. Murder is up by almost six percent. Overall crime in some Triangle-area counties, including Chatham and Franklin, appears to be on the rise. Attorney General Roy Cooper says recent budget cuts by the legislature law have put law enforcement officials at a huge disadvantage in solving and preventing crimes.

Roy Cooper: That's especially true when we've seen a surge in crimes that are not reflected in these stats that are hurting children, such as increasing meth labs where children are often present and abusing prescription drugs and child pornography and exploitation.

Cooper says DNA submissions to the crime lab are up by 76 percent and toxicology submissions have risen by almost 20 percent. This demand comes at a time when the budget has been severely handcuffed. Lawmakers have slashed the department's budget by more than 5 million dollars.

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