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Unsolved homicides down in Fayetteville

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FAYETTEVILLE – Cumberland County law enforcement dealt 37 homicides in 2008, which is nine more than last year. But officials said only three cases are unsolved.

It’s an accomplishment that makes police proud.

"It certainly is a wonderful accomplishment,” Sgt. Christopher Corcione, head of the Fayetteville Police Department’s homicide squad, said. “And I know that the detectives assigned to this squad have worked so hard to achieve success."

The homicide squad is a big part of the reason so many cases were solved. Before February, it was part of another squad that had to investigate all crimes against people. Now their job is more focused.

"Instead of working on rapes and robberies and serious assaults along with homicides, my guys can stay focused on the homicides," Corcione said.

But as crime went up this year, the number of officers in the unit dwindled. For most of the year, the homicide squad had to operate with only four investigators. It wasn’t until November that the squad was fully staffed with seven investigators.

Corcione said the decision to create a separate homicide squad was a response to the increase in homicides. That increase, he said, reflects a national trend.

But officials said it's not easy to understand why numbers increase from year to year.

"There's no way to predict why homicides happen or what we can do to prevent them," Debbie Tanna of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.

But Corcione said Fayetteville police have adopted the motto, “There's no greater crime that the theft of a human life.” ClientIP: UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP