RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The N.C. Department of Justice reports that incidents of violent crime across North Carolina fell by more than 5 percent in 2011, making last year's crime rate the state's lowest since 1977.
While crime dropped overall, the statewide murder rate rose by nearly 6 percent.
As he released the annual tallies Thursday, Attorney General Roy Cooper expressed concern that successive years of budget cuts are making it harder for law enforcement to combat crime.
The overall crime rate decreased by nearly 1 percent compared to 2010. This marks the third year in a row North Carolina has seen its lowest crime rates in decades, in line with downward trends reported nationally. The state compiles annual crime statistics based on data provided by local law enforcement agencies across North Carolina.