By Kevin Rector
As outlined by Police Chief Jim Johnson and County Executive Jim Smith, the figures showed an 8.1 percent overall decline in total violent crime in the county.
Violent crime includes homicides, which countywide were down 16.7 percent; rapes, down 2 percent; robberies, down 3.4 percent; and aggravated assaults, down 10.7 percent.
Smith said the decrease was proof that county police are having success "even in the face of the down economy."
Property crime in the county was up .4 percent, largely due to a 5.7 percent jump in theft -- the lone serious crime category that saw an increase, according to police statistics.
The increase in theft was partially due to a large number of catalytic converters being stolen out of cars as the cost of the precious metals found in the converters increased last year, Johnson said.
Johnson noted that crime in the county is at a level not seen since 1976 and attributed part of that to the cooperation and trust between community members and county police.
"That's a significant factor," he said.
Other than theft, property crime in the county was down, with burglary down 9.8 percent, motor vehicle theft down 13.6 percent and arson down 4.3 percent.
Smith noted that the county police department maintained a 71 percent clearance rate for violent crime and a 96.7 percent clearance rate for homicides, which he said shows criminals they "will be caught" if they commit crime in the county.
The county police homicide clearance rate is 50 percent higher than the national average, Smith said.