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Q&A: Vermont crime rate low despite death of Melissa Jenkins

Vermont crime rate still low

I've been following the story of the young teacher murdered in Vermont. I thought Vermont was a pretty safe state?

Melissa Jenkins, a 33-year-old science teacher at St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, a town of about 7,500 in northeast Vermont, was kidnapped March 25. Her 2-year-old son was left unharmed in her car. Jenkins' body was found the next day in the nearby Connecticut River, which separates Vermont and New Hampshire.

Allen and Patricia Prue have been arrested and charged with murder. According to reports, they had decided "to get a girl," told Jenkins their car had broken down and asked her for assistance. When the teacher got out of her car, police say, Allen Prue strangled her.

The Prues have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

Vermont, a largely rural state of about 626,000 residents, is one of the states where a person is least likely to be a homicide victim.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Vermont had a homicide rate of 1.3 per 100,000 population in 2009, which would rank it tied with Iowa for 49th among states. For Vermont, that meant 8 homicides. New Hampshire's 0.9 rate was the nation's lowest.

Florida's rate was 5.5 and the national average was 5.1. Washington, D.C., was the most dangerous area, with a rate of 24.2, and Louisiana had the highest rate among states at 12.3.

For all violent crimes, Vermont was also 49th with a rate of 140.8 incidents per 100,000 population. Maine's 119.4 was best. Florida's rate was 688.9, and the national average was 467.2. The District of Columbia's rate was 1,437.7, with Nevada had the worst rate among states at 727.5.

Economy slows new quarters

When the government made state quarters, they were readily available. Now they are issuing the national park quarters and nobody seems to be able to get them. Why is the distribution so poor?

The economy drives demand for the coins. "When the economy runs slower, there are fewer coins made," Mike White, spokesman for the U.S. Mint, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The America the Beautiful Quarters Program, which began in 2010 and depicts national parks and other national sites, has between 60 million and 70 million per coin, while the state quarters program, which ran from 1999 to 2008, was about 400 million per state coin.

The America the Beautiful Quarters Program will feature 56 sites, with new coins issued through 2021. Eleven have been issued. Five are planned for 2012, and the El Yunque National Forest coin has been issued already (Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Acadia National Park in Maine, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska are still to come).

Sets can be purchased from the U.S. Mint's website at

Q&A: Vermont crime rate low despite death of Melissa Jenkins 04/16/12 [Last modified: Monday, April 16, 2012 12:13pm]
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