ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW) — Robeson County had the highest overall crime rate and the highest violent crime rate in North Carolina in 2022, according to statistics in a report released by the state Bureau of Investigation.

The overall crime rate in North Carolina fell by 1.9 percent from 2021, the report showed. The state saw a 3.9% drop in its violent crime rate and a 0.9% drop in its property crime rate.

The overall crime rates were higher in both Robeson and Scotland counties in 2022, the study showed. In Robeson County, the overall crime rate rose by 12.5%, largely because of a 23.4% increase in the rate of property crimes. Scotland County saw a 25% increase in its overall rate.

Robeson County had the state’s highest rate of violent crime in 2022, even though the report showed a 7.6% drop in the rate when compared with 2021. It’s the county’s third straight year atop the list.

Scotland County also high on list

One of the county’s more prominent violent crimes in 2022 involved the death of Darrell D. Locklear, 50, of Maxton. Authorities charged at least six people after Locklear was shot to death on Dec. 22, 2022, at a home on Corey Road. Sheriff Burnis Wilkins’ office called it a “pre-planned killing.”

In November 2022, shots rang out during a Lumberton Junior High School football game, leaving a woman with injuries that authorities said were believed to be life-threatening. A video showed football players running off the field during a trophy presentation as shots were heard in the background.

Scotland County, meanwhile, had the state’s second-highest rate of violent crime in 2022, with the rate climbing by 16% from 2021. The county’s rate of property crimes rose by 28%.

Violent crimes committed in Scotland County in 2022 included the Feb. 23, killing of Ibrahim Mohamed-Ali Al-Wajih at the Skilled Games Store on Riverton Road near Wagram. Three men were subsequently arrested in connection with his death.

According to deputies, one of the men asked the clerk to help him with a game and another man pulled out a gun. Al-Wajih was then shot during a struggle with the armed man. The third suspect then went behind the counter to take money from the cash register, deputies said.

Statewide, the report showed the number of murders dropped from 970 in 2021 to 842 in 2022, a drop of 13%. There were 2% fewer robberies, 2% fewer rapes and 3% fewer aggravated assaults.

The report also showed a statewide increase in the number of juveniles arrested for murder — from 46 in 2021 to 60 in 2022.

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Violent crimes include murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson.

The rates in the study are based on the number of offenses per 100,000 population. Information in the report is based on data submitted by law enforcement agencies to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program as of Sept. 17.