Crime in North Carolina dropped to its lowest level in 25 years last year, but just why is subject to debate, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. 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. Reported crime 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 yesterday. It was the sharpest single-year drop in crime rates since North Carolina began statewide crime reporting in 1973.
Welty added that there are some indications that property crime declines in a down economy, as counter-intuitive as that might seem, said Jeff Welty, a public law and government faculty member at UNC Chapel Hill. He said the U.S. saw a similar drop in property crime during another tough economic period: the Great Depression. U.S. Attorney George Holding asserted that one cause for the drop is the federal government’s “vigorous prosecution of violent felons.”