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Crime statistics released Wednesday probably won't help Greensboro improve its ranking in Rand McNally's Places Rated Almanac.

Greensboro posted a 23 percent increase in overall reported crime in the first six months of 1991 compared to the same period in 1990 - the biggest gain among North Carolina's 15 largest cities.Worse yet, violent crimes - murder, rape, robbery and assault - grew by 33 percent.

Only Durham reported a bigger leap: 47 percent.

Statewide, reported crime jumped 6 percent. Crime increased in all major categories except rape, where there was no change over last year.

Pacing the rise in reported crime was a 12 percent increase in robbery and 13 percent increase in arson. Violent crime was up a modest 3 percent statewide.

Elsewhere in the Piedmont, overall reported crime increased 8 percent in both Burlington and High Point, while dropping 1 percent in Winston-Salem.

``We don't have any particular explanation for Greensboro, as opposed to Greenville,' N.C. Attorney General Lacy Thornburg said Wednesday.

Crime in Greenville dropped 21 percent.

Greensboro Police Chief Sylvester Daughtry was also baffled.

``We have no way of explaining it. I think it's a trend all over the state,' he said.

Thornburg primarily blamed drugs and the recession for the crime increase.

Daughtry cautioned that the figures were preliminary and do not account for population increases.

State law enforcement officials, however, say increases in the crime rate for the entire year will likely be even higher.

More crime usually occurs in the second half of the year because of hot weather and because of the Christmas holiday season.

Although reported crime in Greensboro was up dramatically, the numbers varied widely among the state's other urban areas.

For example, crime dropped 4 percent in Charlotte, 13 percent in Fayetteville and 5 percent in Gastonia, while it increased 7 percent in Asheville and Durham, 16 percent in Raleigh and 20 percent in Wilmington.

Reported crime in rural areas increased also.

Guilford County posted a 13 percent increase and Davidson a 16 percent rise.

The biggest increase of all was reported in Forsyth County, where reported crime jumped 159 percent.

But Forsyth Sheriff Ron Barker said the numbers are misleading.

He said crime was underreported by the previous sheriff, Preston Oldham, who left office in December.

``We definitely do not have a 159 percent increase in crime,' Barker said.

``If we did, I would have called the National Guard by now.'



Locale and change Year Total crimes Violent Property Murder Rape\ Greensboro 1990 6,721 706 6,015 13 50

+23% 1991 8,234 936 7,298 13 54

High Point 1990 3,248 402 2,846 3 18

+8% 1991 3,514 451 3,063 5 12

Winston-Salem 1990 8,228 1,108 7,120 11 81

-1% 1991 8,122 1,128 6,994 10 84

Burlington 1990 1,279 166 1,113 4 1

+8% 1991 1,381 185 1,196 0 7

Guilford County 1990 1,494 144 1,350 3 12

+13% 1991 1,688 125 1,563 0 1

Forsyth County 1990 747 46 701 3 6

+159% 1991 1,931 362 1,569 1 6

Source: N.C. Department of Justice\


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