News In Brief

THE COACH LEFT HIS AT HOME On a Saturday night earlier this month, some visitors to Fayetteville, Ark., were absorbing such a beating that there were 35 separate calls to 911. Yet, when dispatchers asked how the police could help there was no answer, except for muffled crowd noise. Finally, concerned officers traced the calls back to a spectator at the football game between the University of Arkansas and Middle Tennessee State, a 58-6 rout. A one-touch-button cell phone in his fanny pack was programmed with the emergency number, which it rang inadvertently each time he stood to cheer.

HEAVY METAL WOULDN'T WORK First on the program are likely to be pieces by Beethoven and Bach, followed by other classical composers. But they aren't part of a concert, and the hope is that they'll drive listeners away, not keep them in place. Police will play the music as an experiment to try chasing young drug users out of a pedestrian tunnel where they loiter at the train station in the Dutch town of Heerlen.

Seven types of major crimes reportedly declined in 1998 Last year all violent US crimes - murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault - and all the far more numerous serious property crimes - burglary, auto theft, larceny-theft - dropped in both number and rate. Overall, the violent-crime rate, which adjusts for population growth, was down 7.3 percent, the FBI reported. The property-crime rate fell 6.2 percent. Criminologists attribute the report in part to the aging of baby boomers past crime-prone years and a decline in crack-cocaine markets. But they also noted that - although teenage murders have been cut in half since their peak in 1993 - they're still almost twice as high as in 1984 before crack gangs began arming some youths. The percent decline in crime rates for the most serious crimes:

Robbery 11.3%

Auto theft 9.3%

Murder 7.4%

Burglary 6.2%

Aggravated assault 5.7%

Larceny-theft 5.7%

Rape 4.2%

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.