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State Homicide Rate Down

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Homicides in California´s biggest cities fell 7 percent during the first nine months of 2003 while violent crime fell overall by two-point-two percent, according to new figures from the state attorney general.

The figures, drawn from police and sheriff departments serving cities with populations of 100,000 or more, show an upbeat trend even as the state continues to struggle with economic troubles, officials say.

Police reported a decrease all categories of violent crime — including rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

The news was not all good. There were almost 10,000 more property crimes during the first nine months of 2003 than last year. Most of the increase came from an 8.2 percent jump in car theft.

Attorney General Bill Lockyer said that property crimes tend to increase during tough economic times.