In the past five years, violent crime has dropped 38 percent across Hennepin County, according to new preliminary estimates released Friday.

Last year was the fifth consecutive year when violent crime went down countywide, the Sheriff's Office said in a news release. From 2010 to 2011, there was a 6 percent reduction in violent crime.

"This is a remarkable achievement for the residents of Hennepin County, and I believe the hard work and innovation of the Sheriff's Office in partnership with all local law enforcement agencies contributed significantly to making communities safer," Sheriff Rich Stanek said.

Violent crime includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Stanek said the reduction in violent crime can be attributed to the improved use of technology by law enforcement, enhanced criminal information sharing and analysis, and expansion of partnerships among law enforcement agencies.

Last month, Minneapolis officials said violent crime in the city fell 6 percent in 2011; however, the overall crime rate was up 4 percent.

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495 Twitter: @stribnorfleet