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CMPD: Crime in Charlotte down 19 percent in 2009

Charlotte's crime rate is at a 30-year low, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. WFAE's Lisa Miller has more: Police data show the number of reported crimes dropped 19 percent in 2009. Violent crime was down 21 percent and property crime declined 18 percent. Nearly all parts of the city saw decreases, except for a few neighborhoods just west of uptown. Police Chief Rodney Monroe says the city is reaping the benefits of changes he made in late 2008 shortly after he joined the department. "Those changes focused on reducing crime at the neighborhood level, increasing police visibility in all of our neighborhoods and allowing patrol divisions the flexibility to use their resources and to increase their accountability for results at all levels within their organizations," says Monroe. Only a few categories of crime saw increases. Reports of rape were up 12 percent from 2008. Monroe says police have been stepping up efforts to encourage women to come forward and report crimes. "I think there are still room for reductions," says Monroe. "What they will be I don't know. Have we set a goal for 2010 just yet? We haven't, but within the next couple weeks we will be." Monroe says the department will put a new emphasis on curbing drugs and gangs.