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Crime Rate Continues Historic Drop

<bt>Crime statistics for 2004 released Monday by the Arlington County Police Department show that the total number of serious crimes in Arlington dropped by 5.9 percent from 2003 to 2004, and the crime rate is at its lowest point since 1962. In the last decade, the county’s crime rate has fallen by 56 percent.

In 2004 there were 5,104 “index,” or serious, crimes in Arlington, 320 fewer than in 2003. The most significant decreases were in robberies, which dropped by 11.5 percent, and vehicle thefts, which fell by 17.7 percent. There were 493 vehicle thefts in Arlington last year, the first time in two decades that fewer than 500 vehicles were stolen.

Index crimes — homicides, forcible rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, arsons, burglaries, larcenies and vehicle thefts — are the eight categories generally used by law enforcement as a standardized measure of the incidence of crime. Arsons in Arlington are investigated by the Fire Marshal and are not reported by the Police Department.

The crime rate — the number of index crimes per 100,000 people — was 2,585 in 2004, down from 2,754 in 2003. Last year’s crime rate is Arlington's lowest since 1962.