Crime in North Carolina inched up slightly last year, and the murder rate rose 8.5 percent, state Attorney General Roy Cooper said yesterday, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Cooper noted that the number of juveniles arrested for murder had risen 52 percent. He is backing pending state legislation that seeks tougher penalties for gang activity and bolsters efforts to help steer young people away from gangs.
It’s not clear that gangs have had much effect on homicide rates in the Raleigh area. In Durham, only two of the more than two dozen homicides reported last year were gang-related, said Police Chief Jose Lopez Sr. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said most of the 12 homicide cases his office has investigated over the past two years were not gang-related but instead were the result of domestic arguments or drugs. Gang members “have a warped sense of self-esteem,” Lopez said. “They take great pride in their news clippings and think, ‘Wow, I’m somebody.’ ”