FBI reports rise in violent crimes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

FBI reports rise in violent crimes

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June 14, 2006 

Albany-- How safe are we in our communities? New numbers show violent crime is up nationwide for the first time in five years. In Albany, crime went down last year but this year isn't off to a great start.  

Interesting FBI numbers show that murders are down in big cities like New York and Los Angeles but crime in cities the size of Albany are up about 12 percent. It isn't a surprise to many people here who are hoping for a change.

You can find Edward Brown on many days just shooting the breeze with friends on the front porch. "Just sit down and laugh and talk you know," says Brown. Tonight, the conversation is the pouring rain as he watches cars and people go by in his West Albany neighborhood.

"Sometimes the neighborhood gets pretty shabby sometimes and sometimes it's not," says Brown. He knows his neighborhood and he's seen times change since he moved here in the 50's. "When I came to Albany in '58, you could walk the streets and things," says Brown, "can't do it now like that."

Brown laughs about it but he says the crime he sees daily is a serious matter. "We got pretty good crime here in Albany, kind of rough sometimes here in Albany, pretty rough sometimes," says Brown.

But just how rough has it gotten? Reports show violent crime is up nationwide.  There were nearly 17,000 murders last year.  Here in Albany, there were 8. That was up from 5 in 2004, a 60 percent increase.  However rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults went down bringing violent crime down a little more than two percent in 2005.

But here's a look at violent crime this year in Albany.  Through April there were two murders, the same as the first four months of last year.  Rapes are down and so are aggravated assaults but robberies are up more than 40 percent.  

Brown feels citizens can play a part in keeping the streets safe. "Yeah they can. They can help out too," says Brown. He says two things can change the way crime is going nationwide and especially here where he calls home.  One is more citizens reporting crime.  The other is more law enforcement.

"I don't believe they have enough law in order to cover the territory like it oughta be, you know what I'm talking about?" When that happens, these porch chats will be a little more enjoyable.

"Yeah, it's been a lot of change since I came to Albany, yeah sure is," says Brown. And just like the rain, he hopes to watch as crime dries out and goes away.

Overall, the national increase in murders is about five percent.  Violent crime as a whole went up more than 2 percent.   According to their crime analysis report, Albany Police cleared about fifty percent of violent crime cases last year.

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