AG Cooper still concerned despite drop in crime rate

There was some good news announced last week as the North Carolina crime rate for 2012 was down—in fact, at its lowest rate since 1976. Attorney General Roy Cooper says the numbers don’t tell the whole story, however, as the index crime rate does include not all reported crimes.

“These statistics don’t include meth labs; they don’t include prescription drug abuse, or child pornography.”

According to the N.C. Department of Justice, those issues are challenges that continue to grow:

• State Bureau of Investigation agents raided a record number of meth labs in the state last year (460) as the simpler, one-pot method for making small amounts of the drug continued to spread.

• Prescription drug abuse now kills more people than illegal drug use in North Carolina, with more than 1,100 North Carolinians dying from prescription drug overdoses last year.

• Cybertips of possible online child pornography and exploitation reported to the SBI’s Computer Crimes Unit by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have more than tripled in the past two years.

Cooper said to continue an effective fight against those crimes it will require more work and resources.

“It’s critically important that our congressional, legislative, city, and county elected officials realize that we have to invest in law and enforcement and technology. When you ask people how they want their tax dollars invested, public safety ranks very high on the list.”

Cooper also pointed to the overburdened State Crime Lab, which saw a 15 percent increase in case submissions to more than 42,000 for fiscal year 2011-12 .

That is one key reason behind his push for funding to develop a full crime lab in Western North Carolina.

The 2012 crime rate was down in Macon County, with a decrease in property crimes, but a slight uptick in the number of violent crimes reported.