Crime still down as year draws to a close
Baring any major holiday crime spree the Cheney Police Department should end 2013 with at least a 20 percent overall reduction in reportable criminal activity over 2012 numbers.
While the rate of decline has slowed in some of the 11 reportable offense categories, and the overall level has risen since a low of 28.8 percent decrease at the end of June, overall crime in the city is still 20.75 percent lower than last year, according to statistics in the department’s November Monthly Activity Report. Department officials have cited numerous measures taken over the past year and a half as reasons for the decrease such as using technology that allows officers to stay in the field longer, higher visibility and a focus on “common sense” policing.
Four offense categories are still running below the overall crime decrease: assaults at 28 percent, thefts at 21 percent, drug offenses at 37 percent and criminal alcohol offenses at almost 49 percent reductions. Other areas are running steady in the 10-20 percent range, while one area, burglaries, has seen an increase from a low of 30.6 percent reduction at the end of June to a just over 3 percent decline at the end of last month, 61 reports through November as compared to 63 through November 2012.
Calls for service are running 41 behind last year’s pace, 6,693 to 6,734 – just under 1 percent – while reports generated by those calls are running 14.89 percent less than last year. Felony arrests are 18.84 percent behind last year’s year to date figures, and misdemeanor arrests are 26.36 percent off last year’s pace, 296 as compared to 402 through November 2012. Traffic citations, warnings and contacts are also well below 2012 levels as are computer aided dispatch calls for the department.
One area that is running above last year’s figures are numbers for handling warrants, up 83 percent. Police Department Cmdr. Rick Campbell said one of the reasons is a change in the Criminal Justice Information System requirements that have led to additional time, result in 64 percent more warrants created and 92 percent more warrants served.
“All of those combined increase the amount of warrant time,” Campbell said.
Another area of increase is in paying overtime out of the general fund and overtime out of the training fund, up 264.6 and 200.9 percent respectively. The department’s building fund is running at 131.6 percent of budget while fuel is at 110.8 and criminal justice is at 112.1.
But with 91.7 percent of the year concluded, overall the department has expended 87.6 percent of its $2,645,300 budget.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.