Overall crime dips for Mohave County and the state<BR>

With the fastest-growing county in the second-fastest growing state in the country, Mohave County has seeing a decrease in the last 10 years in all types of crime, but figures are projected to go up for most crimes in the next five years.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack said that the county's tougher prosecution and sentencing as well as a strong economy during the 1990s have contributed to the drop in crime.

"The booming economy tends to decrease the crime rates," Chief Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack said.

"The chronic criminal will be going to prison longer so they tend to commit fewer crimes," he said.

Despite a slight increase in the number of the murders and robberies, Mohave County has seen a decrease in the murder and robbery rates from 1990 to 1999, according to a report from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission.

Zack said murders are usually individual events and will usually occur regardless of the economy unlike crimes for financial gain like theft, burglary and property crimes.

The number of all other crimes in the county, including burglary, arson, car theft, property crime, larceny, rape, aggravated assault and overall violent crime decreased in the decade, the ACJC report showed.

A crime rate takes into effect population growth in the state and the county, so even if there is an increase in the number of cases, the crime rate can still drop, the reports states.

The violent crime rate, which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, dropped more than 44 percent from 1990 to 1999.

There were 563 violent crimes committed in 1990 compared to 470 in 1999, a 16.5 percent drop in the number of offenses.

The murder rate dropped in the county almost 24 percent in the decade.

There were eight murders in 1999, increasing slightly from seven in 1990.

However, there were 14 murders in 1992, and 13 murders each in 1993 and 1994.

The good news is that murders are projected to drop in rural counties in the next five years, ACJC data shows.

The rate of rapes decreased by 37.4 percent; the robbery rate dropped 14 percent; the aggravated assault rate dropped 47.5 percent; property crime rates decreased 41 percent; burglary rates dropped almost 50 percent; theft rates dropped 38 percent; motor vehicle theft rates dropped 38.3 percent; and arson rates decreased almost 40 percent, ACJC data shows.

The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission projects over the next five years, rural counties like Mohave County will see a increase in all crimes including a 6 percent increase in violent crimes but almost a 13 percent decrease in the murder rate, ACJC spokeswoman Rebecca Jahn said.

The state has the second highest rate of car theft in the country behind the District of Columbia, partly due to the close proximity to Mexico, she said.

Mohave County's population was estimated at 142,925 in 1999, a 49.8 percent increase since 1990, data shows.

The 2000 census showed that Mohave County has a population of 155,032.