Violent crime down in the Good Life City - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Violent crime down in the Good Life City

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January 26, 2006

Albany-- How safe do you feel in the Good Life City? Preliminary reports from the Albany Police Department show that overall, the number of violent crimes went down in 2005. Is that a trend that may continue this year?

Although the overall number of violent crimes went down about 2% in 2005, the report shows that there were more homicides last year than 2004 and when it comes to property crimes, some of those have spiked as well.

When the night falls, you can almost always catch Leroy Bynum hitting the pavement. "I run an average between five to seven times per week," says Bynum. Five to seven nights of running adds up to extra precaution for Bynum. "I'm always very careful. I'm always looking out both ways when I cross the streets," says Bynum.

But with each step, does he feel safe? "I feel pretty safe here. I've lived here almost 12 years now and it's a very safe community," says Bynum. Some preliminary numbers may help him and other Albanians feel even safer in the Good Life City. There's some good and bad news.

According to the report, homicides are up 60 percent from 2004 with 8 murders last year compared to 5 the year before. The numbers of other violent crimes including rape, robberies and aggravated assaults are all down. "I think that the police are trying and I'm hoping that they'll be keeping crime down and they are doing just that," says Bynum.

Here's a look at some preliminary property crime statistics. Arsons are up more than 20 percent and burglaries are up about 8 percent but the numbers of larcenies and auto thefts are down. The downward crime spiral means less things for Leroy to worry about when he's running and more confidence in law enforcement.

"As long as they keep doing that, I'll keep running," says Bynum.  As he rounds each corner, "I don't take anything for granted because you just never know," says Bynum, he still keeps up his own level of safety.

Armed robberies in some Albany neighborhoods got a lot of attention last year but robberies are down nearly one percent from 2004 and down more than 17 percent since 2003. Two murder investigations remain open from 2005. Albany police say all the numbers are preliminary and wouldn't comment on the stats Thursday.

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