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GOOD NEWS BEARS

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We're as impressed by orderly presentations as anybody, and so we were intrigued by a joint press release put out late last week by four pillars of the local law-enforcement community: Shelby County sheriff Mark H. Luttrell Jr.; Memphis police director Larry Godwin; U.S. attorney Terry Harris; and Shelby County district attorney general Bill Gibbons.

But the proposed contribution was much too long for our Viewpoint space, so that - plus the fact that we kept hearing it read by each of the signatories in turn on the electronic media - caused us to demur.

Still, we are encouraged by the thrust of the piece, which is that - aggravated assaults, juvenile crime, and traffic mishaps aside - our community has been faring better in crime statistics of late.

Specifically, the latest FBI statistical report suggests that since 2003 violent crimes in the Memphis area have dipped by 2 percent and property crimes by 2.6 percent, as compared to a nationwide drop of 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Our four local law enforcers say further: "Looking at longer-term trends, the picture is even better. The city of Memphis has witnessed a dramatic 48 percent reduction in homicides the last eight years, along with a significant 41 percent reduction in reported robberies."

Now, that is good. And though much of the rest of the four lawmen's document is, well, P.R. for their offices, we're still impressed. Keep up the fine work, men.

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