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While the homicide rate held steady in 1993, overall crime in Buffalo dropped 3.8 percent from the previous year, state officials announced Monday.

There was one more homicide in Buffalo in 1993 than 1992, but almost every other category of crime in the city went down last year from 1992. The other exception was auto thefts, which rose by less than 1 percent.

Amherst also was among five of the state's seven largest municipalities that showed a decrease in crime reports from 1992 to 1993. Amherst, the only town among the top seven, recorded the largest change of all -- a 9.3 percent decrease in reported crimes.

Even New York City had fewer crimes to report, a 4.1 percent decrease, according to statistics released Monday by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. Nearly 14,000 fewer cars were reported stolen last year compared with the 126,959 stolen in 1992.

Cities reporting increases in crime were Yonkers (4.5 percent) and Albany (less than 1 percent).

Buffalo's overall crime rate in 1993 was the lowest since 1991, when 31,468 crimes were reported. Deputy Police Commissioner Lawrence Bayerl said the 3.8 percent decrease is not a "real significant change" but said it does show Buffalo is "heading in the right direction."

Homicides in Buffalo increased from 49 in 1991 to 78 in 1992 and 79 last year. That was the same period in which the city had its largest increase in crime -- from 31,468 crimes reported in 1991 to 33,147 in 1992.

Compared with 1992, Buffalo in 1993 saw 14.7 percent fewer rapes (from 346 to 295) and 7.5 percent fewer burglaries (8,210 to 7,597). There were 2,898 robberies (down 100) and 12,714 larcenies (down 371).

"It's a good measure to the extent that we can compare to last year and previous years," Bayerl said. "It's a barometer that gives us some indication of where things are going."

Like other local officials, Buffalo police have not yet seen these figures, which were released to the media Monday morning.

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