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Vermont crime: good news, bad news

The 2007 Vermont Crime Report was released last week by the Vermont Crime Information Center at the Department of Public Safety. The new report contains an analysis of crime reported to law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Vermont during calendar year 2007. Crimes reported to state police, municipal police, sheriff departments, and other state law enforcement agencies are analyzed in the report. Crime statistics are arranged statewide, by county, and by town. Total Crime: The Crime Report indicates that the total number of reported Group A and Group B crimes in 2007 decreased by 3 percent from 2006. The decrease is a reversal from last year's increase of 5.7 percent. In 2007, total Group A crimes decreased by 2.25 percent. Group A crimes are the more serious crimes and are counted whenever a complaint is received by law enforcement. Group A crimes against persons decreased by 1.5 percent, crimes against property decreased by 2.3 percent and crimes against society decreased by nearly 2.7 percent. Group B crimes decreased by 5.25 percent. Group B Crimes are a group of eleven less serious crimes which are only reported when an arrest is made. Violent Crime: In order to gauge the level and types of violent crimes occurring across the nation, the FBI has developed the Violent Crime Index. This Index is based on the number of murders, forcible rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults reported in a jurisdiction. Preliminary figures reported by the FBI indicate that the National Violent Crime Index showed a decrease of 1.4 percentfrom 2006. The Violent Crime Index for the Northeast decreased by 5.4 percent from 2006. The Vermont Violent Crime Index saw a decrease of 9 percent. Last year the Vermont Violent Crime Index saw an increase of 12.2 percent. Homicides statewide were down from 13 victims in 2006 to 12 victims in 2007. Forcible rapes decreased by 17 percent from 175 statewide to 146. Robberies decreased by 29 percent from 112 in 2006 to 80 in 2007. In 2007, aggravated assaults decreased by 2 percent from 500 statewide to 488. Aggravated assaults involve very serious or life threatening injuries usually inflicted with some type of weapon. Approximately 4,300 individuals were victims of violent crimes in Vermont in 2007; forty-seven of the victims were law enforcement officers. Fifty-three percent of victims of violent crimes were women. Men and women in the age group 21- 29 were more frequently the victims of violent crime than any other age groups. Men and women over the age of 50 years old were the least likely to be victims of violent crime. In nearly 93 percent of violent crimes where defendant/victim relationship information was known the defendant was either an acquaintance, intimate partner, or family member of the victim. In approximately 97 percent of the violent crime incidents, the victim received either no injuries or minor injuries. Dangerous weapons including firearms were used in nearly 8 percent of violent crimes. Approximately 65 percent of violent crime in Vermont occurs in residences which makes the home the most frequent location for violent criminal incidents. Highways and roads are the second most frequent location for violent crime. There were no significant changes in violent crime victimization statistics between 2006 and 2007. Domestic Violence incidents involving intimate partners increased by approximately 7 percent from 903 in 2006 to 963 in 2007. The vast majority of domestic violence crimes involve simple assaults (75 percent) and aggravated assaults (19 percent). Property Crime: The FBI has also developed a Property Crime Index which is comprised of the number of burglaries, thefts, and motor vehicle thefts reported in a jurisdiction. Preliminary figures from the FBI indicate that the National Property Crime Index was down by 2.1 percent from 2006. The Northeast reported nearly a 2.9 percent decline in 2007. The Vermont Property Crime Index declined by less than 1 percent. While burglary in Vermont was down by 7 percent from 2006, theft was up by 1 percent, and motor vehicle theft increased by 2 percent. In Vermont the total property loss in 2007 due to criminal activity reported to law enforcement agencies statewide was $23 million, up more than $1.4 million from 2006 nearly a 7 percent increase. The increases in crime losses were due to a limited number of burglary and fraud cases where the losses were over $50,000 per incident. Theft is the most costly property crime accounting for loses of over $9 million in 2007. Burglary was second accounting for $4.8 million in losses Drug Crime: There were 3,008 drug crimes reported in 2007, down 2.7 percent from 2006. More than 1,818 (63 percent) of drug crime incidents in 2007 involved marijuana. Cocaine and Crack Cocaine cases amounted to 11 percent of the drug crimes. Amphetamine and Methamphetamine cases constituted less than 1 percent of drug cases. Except for marijuana cases which increased by 3.4 percent, most other types of drug cases saw a decrease between 2006 and 2007. Vermont Crime On-Line: Interested readers can access the complete 2007 Vermont Crime Report by using Vermont Crime On-Line from the Department of Public Safety's web page at www.dps.state.vt.us. Eleven years of crime data are now available on the web site.

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