Crime Numbers Up

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Meridian is no longer the safest city in Mississippi with a population over 30,000.

Numbers released in the Uniform Crime Report place Meridian fourth among the seven Mississippi cities which fit the category.

The main reason for the change is a string of burglaries that occurred in the latter part of 2004. Mayor John Robert Smith said he is optimistic for next year.

"The good news is, for 2005, we're on track for probably the best crime rate statistics in 10 years," Smith said.

Lauderdale County also reports an increased crime rate for 2004. However, the rate of violent crime is down significantly.