Serious crime in Annapolis last year remained at nearly the same level as in 2011 — a low not seen since 1975, officials said — but the number of assaults jumped.

Overall, incidents categorized as "major crimes" — homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft — increased less than 1 percent over 2011, or by eight crimes, police said.

Police Chief Michael Pristoop credited his officers, as well as prevention and crime-fighting strategies based on intelligence-gathering, community involvement and the department's work with other agencies.

However, the number of aggravated assaults rose from 96 in 2011 to 117 in 2012, a 22 percent increase, police said.

"It's hard to say what the root is," said Detective Amy Miguez. "Aggravated assault tends to be a personal thing."

What fueled the rise in aggravated assaults is unclear, Miguez said. A department map showed that many were clustered in three areas: downtown, especially during "bar hours," and near President and Madison streets in Eastport and in the Newtowne Drive corridor.

Those three areas receive additional enforcement, said Miguez, "but unfortunately we can't be everywhere all the time."

The assault figures do not include domestic violence.

Last year, there were two homicides in Annapolis; there was one in 2011, according to police. The number of rapes fell from eight in 2011 to four in 2012.

The number of robberies dropped from 71 in 2011 to 54 in 2012, down 24 percent. Robberies in the city are down by 71 percent since 2007 and are at the lowest level since 1979, police said.

Overall, violent crime in 2012 was down 60 percent from 2007, police said.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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