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NJ Sees Lowest Murder Rate In 10 Years

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Generic Arrest File Photo (credit: CBS)

Generic Arrest File Photo (credit: CBS)

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey’s murder rate was at its lowest level in a decade last year and the Garden State’s overall crime rate dropped nine percent, according to the 2009 Uniform Crime Report released Thursday.

There were 320 murders reported last year compared to 376 in 2008. Comparatively, there were 288 murders reported in 2000.

In all, violent crime went down by four percent from 28,281 reported incidents to 27,108. It marked the eighth consecutive year that the crime rate decreased.

Rapes and aggravated assaults were also down.

“Our latest crime data shows reductions in just about all major categories of crime. This is testimony to the skill and dedication of the men and women of our law enforcement community,” said state Attorney General Paula Dow. “While I am encouraged by this downward trend in the overall crime index and violent crime, law enforcement will have to continue to work even harder and smarter, especially during this economic crisis facing our state and nation.”

According to the report, robbery was the motive in about half of all killings.

A third of all murder victims knew their assailants and firearms were used more than two-thirds of the time and eight percent of victims were killed by family members.

Like the overall crime rate, the number of arrests for weapons offenses, 4,770, was also down nine percent, but more than a quarter of those arrested last year were juveniles.

The total crime rate for the state was 23.9 victims for every 1,000 residents, compared to 26.2 victims per 1,000 residents in 2008.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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