DENVER (AP) – There were 120 slayings in Colorado last year, the lowest level the state has seen since 1969, the FBI said.
The figures the FBI released Monday included the number of murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases reported to the federal agency by law enforcement in Colorado in 2010. The number of cases dropped 31 percent from 175 reported in 2009.
Violent crime overall fell 5 percent in Colorado last year and dropped 6 percent across the country. It’s the fourth straight year-to-year decline nationwide.
Violent crimes are slayings, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
Denver had the largest year-to-year decline with 22 slayings reported in 2010, down from 39 the year before. Colorado Springs saw the number of slayings rise from 15 to 20.
Sgt. Steve Noblitt, a Colorado Springs police spokesman, said the latest figures don’t represent an unusual spike, since the city has been averaging about 20 homicides per year.
From 2000 to 2010, Colorado averaged 180 slayings per year, according to figures compiled by the FBI for its annual uniform crime reports.
Criminologists say an aging population, better policing and continued high rates of imprisonment for criminals are helping to drive down crime rates.
Lt. Matt Murray, a Denver police spokesman, said among the changes in the past 10 years are the addition of analysts in each of the city’s districts. These analysts examine crime reports, map out the crimes’ locations and search for trends to try to predict where the crimes will happen.
In addition to analysts, there’s also improved communication among the different bureaus within the police department, such as homicide and narcotics.
“In the old days narcotics was working on its own, homicide was on its own, and now they’re talking to each other,” Murray said. “We’re seeing some of the same players committing these different crimes.”
– By P. Solomon Banda, AP Writer
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)