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Chief credits technology in Prince William crime drop

Wednesday - 5/18/2011, 3:55pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - Prince William county's police chief is touting the county's success in crime fighting after his police force helped catch the East Coast Rapist and solved all nine murders in the county in 2010.

Violent crimes are down in every category except assaults, despite continued growth in population. Reported crimes increased by 0.1 percent.

About 7 percent of those arrested were illegal immigrants, according to Chief Charlie Deane. He says the county's high profile crackdown on illegal immigration has become just part of their overall police work. Deane says the percentage has remained steady since the crackdown began.

The county arrested or issued summonses to 50,000 people in 2010. Deane says about 2 percent of them were illegal immigrants.

"Crime continues to be down, it's come down significantly over the five years," he says.

There were 7,658 crimes in the county in 2010, about 19.2 crimes for every 1,000 people in the county, compared to 8,070 (22.8 per 1,000 people) in 2005.

Dean says advanced technology like DNA testing, automatic license plate readers and finger print data bases have helped in making arrests including the arrest of the alleged East Coast Rapist. He was connected to two 2009 Halloween rapes in Dale City.

The county's closure rate for violent crimes in 2010 was 63.3 percent, well above the national average of 47.1.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)