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Buffalo crime rise of 3% bucks state trend, report shows

While crime dropped throughout New York State for the first six months of the year, crime in Buffalo rose by 3 percent.

Crime statistics released Sunday by the FBI showed that the city's crime index jumped as the statewide rate fell by almost the same 3 percent overall.

Buffalo, in fact, was the only major upstate city to see a rise in crime. The increase was due largely to a 9.3 percent spike in larcenies and 8.6 percent rise in robberies. Vehicle thefts also rose by almost 3 percent.

While the number of murders was about the same, the city's rapes and aggravated assaults dropped, as did burglaries. Overall, for the period, the city's violent crimes decreased 4 percent, while property crimes rose almost 3 percent.

The statistics compare crimes from January to June 2004 and January to June 2005.

Statewide, crime dropped in six of seven categories, largely reflecting the drop in crime in New York City.

Overall, New York City crime fell 3.4 percent, and the rest of the state dropped 2.2 percent. In Rochester, crime decreased 6.1 percent; Syracuse, 9.3 percent; and Yonkers, 7.6 percent.

"For more than a decade, we have had unprecedented reductions in crime in New York State," Gov. George E. Pataki said in a statement.

"Working together, we have helped to make New York the safest large state in the nation and the sixth safest state overall."

Pataki tied the drop to "tough, smart criminal-justice initiatives" and "continued hard work of law enforcement professionals."

Buffalo's crime increase follows a series of ups and downs over the past five years, including a 1.8 percent drop from 2003 to 2004; 7.5 percent jump from 2002 to 2003; 4.4 percent decrease from 2001 to 2002; and 1.7 percent drop from 2000 to 2001.

Top Buffalo police officials were not immediately available to comment.

e-mail: vthomas@buffness.com

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