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The Deadly Year in Cleveland

The headline for 2007? Murders up, crime down in Cleveland. That sounds confusing, but police and experts say murder rates are unpredictable.

Wendy Regoeczi is a criminologist at Cleveland State University and specializes in homicides. She says any rise in murder rates is troubling, but we should keep it in context.

Wendy Regoeczi: It is actually, even in a city like Cleveland, a rare crime and so maybe we need to make more of the fact that other major crimes, that are far more common than murder, like robbery, rape, and aggravated assault are on the decline, and that is good news for Cleveland.

Regoeczi says it's also possible that more assaults are escalating to murder.

Cleveland was one of the few Ohio cities to see an increase in murders last year. Akron police report 23 killings in 2007 versus 32 in 2006. And, according to the Associated Press, both Columbus and Cincinnati saw 24 percent drops in killings in 2007. But police officials in those cities aren't claiming credit for the declines, saying it could just be an anomaly.