Crime in Vermont declined 3% in 2007, report shows

By John Curran
Associated Press / September 5, 2008
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MONTPELIER - Crime in Vermont dropped by 3 percent last year, buoying law enforcement agencies that had seen an increase the previous year.

Reports of violent crime, property crime, and drug crime all dropped, according to the 2007 Vermont Crime Report issued yesterday.

"It is encouraging," said Max Schlueter, director of the Vermont Crime Information Center, which compiled the report based on crimes reported to law enforcement agencies in calendar year 2007.

"One of the big concerns last year - after a nearly 6 percent increase after five years of decline - was 'Is this a spike, or an upward turn in the amount of crime?' " he said.

"The encouraging thing about the 2007 data is that that steep incline didn't continue," Schlueter said. "But it is important to note that we didn't go down to 2005 levels, so that spike wasn't completely reversed."

According to the report:

  • The most serious crimes, those against a person, property, or society in general, dropped by 2.2 percent, while less serious crimes fell by nearly 2.7 percent.

  • The number of homicides dropped from 13 in 2006 to 12 last year.

  • Rapes were down 17 percent.

  • Robberies were down 29 percent.

  • Aggravated assaults fell by 2 percent.

  • Drug crimes dropped by 2.7 percent from 2006 levels, but the number of marijuana cases reported jumped by 3.4 percent, according to the report.

    Captain Thomas Nelson, commander of the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force, called marijuana use a recurring problem in Vermont but said the increase in reports wasn't the result of stricter enforcement.

    "It's a consistent problem, it's a continuing problem," he said. "I don't think there's any increase in law enforcement attention. The reports happen to reflect more of a number of cases in the system."

    The Task Force, which focuses on traffickers as opposed to users, investigates cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin cases more often than marijuana, he said.

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