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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's Attorney General Roy Cooper says the state's overall crime rate fell last year, but the violent crime rate rose slightly.

Cooper says a report by the State Bureau of Investigation released Thursday is encouraging, but that he's concerned budget cuts will mean fewer police on the street and investigators in the field. The attorney general also says the state's crime lab is overburdened and needs more help to perform its duties.

Cooper says public safety is a high priority for citizens when they are asked how they want their tax dollars spent.

The report says the overall rate of crime per 100,000 people in North Carolina decreased by 4.4 percent compared to 2011.

However, the rate of violent crime per 100,000 North Carolinians rose 0.6 percent.

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