There is some good news about the nation’s crime rate. In 2004, the murder rate dropped to its lowest level in 40 years, the rates for the seven top crimes were down and the overall violent crime rate reached at 30-year low.

In Norman, there were two criminal homicides in 2004, three in 2003 and one in 2002. Norman’s overall crime rate of 35.5 per 1,000 population is down slightly from 2003 when it was 35.7 per 1,000 and down considerably from 2002 when it was 40.8 per 1,000.

Our national murder rate works out to 5.5 murders for every 100,000 people. In total, there were 391 fewer murders nationwide.

There are several reasons analysts have offered for the decline. Most of the changes are in large cities where local conditions and gang activities fluctuate. Chicago and Washington, D.C., were responsible for more than half of the net nationwide drop. St. Louis’ rate was up considerably.

The fastest growing segment of the nation’s population is still persons over age 50 and those folks commit few violent crimes. A growing economy also helps keep crime down.

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