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Violent crimes down

DEMOPOLIS &8212; While violent crime rates in Alabama have climbed slightly, Public Safety Director Jeff Manuel said that the growing crime trend in Demopolis is theft.

National crime statistics in the Uniform Crime Report by the FBI support Manuel&8217;s theory. But statewide, reported instances of theft fell overall. In major metropolitan areas like Birmingham, theft increased, with 6,036 reports of theft in 2007 compared to 5,710 reports in 2006. In Montgomery, Mobile and Huntsville, theft was down from 2006.

Manuel said he doesn&8217;t see violent crime on the rise in Demopolis, despite the city&8217;s first murder in more than two years taking place in February.

But violent crime is rising in areas like Montgomery. In 2007, Alabama&8217;s capital had 591 reported instances of violent crime, compared to 559 in 2006. Montgomery had 21 murders in 2007 compared with 14 in 2006.

Nationally, however, violent crime appears to be dropping.

In Birmingham, murders fell from 55 in 2006 to 34 in 2007, while aggravated assault and statistics also both fell. Instances of robbery, however, were on the rise, with 704 robberies in 2006 and 737 in 2007. In Huntsville, robberies also rose, from 262 to 290. The crime was up across the board in

metro areas in Alabama.

Crimes like theft are classified as property crimes.

With only 19 officers (including himself) on the force, Manuel said that police are challenged.