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Crime in 2007

Murders are down, property crime's up

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With three people shot dead on Jesus' birthday, Christmas made it seem as if Charlotte was the wild, wild West. But according to statistics released by Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, over the last 11 months, crime has taken a dive in the Queen City.

Homicides are down 20 percent compared to 2006. Rapes have also dropped 20 percent.

Of the 67 homicides, which don't include the three killings on Christmas, police say the suspects were known to cops.

• 33 victims with local histories accounting for 324 arrests;

• Of 46 identified suspects, 29 had previous arrest records for a total of 290 arrests.

The murder victims were majority black (45 in all), according to the statistics; there were 13 white homicide victims and nine Hispanic victims.

Guns were the weapons of choice in the vast majority of Charlotte's murders, but police have identified two killings where strangulation was used.

And while people aren't stealing cars as much (the CMPD statistics show that car thefts have dropped more than 17 percent), thieves are taking what's on the inside of the vehicle. Stealing from cars rose more than 23 percent. Burglaries dropped by 5 percent, but residential break-ins rose nearly 12 percent, police statistics show.

Something else on the rise: the number of tickets given out by the cops. CMPD issued 13.4 percent more traffic citations this year, including a 22.9 percent increase in citations for hazardous traffic violations.

Most of the traffic violations issued by police are done on the south side of the city and not the Independence division. Shocking.

But the increase in tickets may be paying off because police say there has been a 10 percent drop in fatal accidents on Charlotte roads.

Prostitution in Charlotte has held steady over the past 11 months, according to CMPD. But young prostitutes (under the age of 18) have decreased by 50 percent.

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