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Home News-Telegram News Sulphur Springs crime rate rose 10 percent over last year; Despite increase, figure is still third-lowest in 15 years

Sulphur Springs crime rate rose 10 percent over last year; Despite increase, figure is still third-lowest in 15 years

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The crime rate in Sulphur Springs rose about 10 percent last year, but was still the third lowest in 15 years, according to Uniform Crime Reporting data provided by Sulphur Springs Police Department.

Overall, there were 211 crimes reported in 2013, which was 21 more than in 2012. That’s still considerably less than the high of 375 set in 1999. In fact, until 2005, the crime rate didn’t dip below 300. The crime rate began falling in 2005, dropping from 371 in 2004 to 277 in 2005. The rate continued to fall until 2008, when it jumped nearly 15 percent from 219 to 251. The crime rate continued to drop annually from 2008 to 2011, when the 15-year low was set at 188 crimes.

Last year, crime rose in four of the seven major crime reporting categories — homicide, sexual assault, robbery and theft over $200. There were one-third fewer motor vehicle thefts and the aggravated assault rate was more than cut in half. While the overall number of burglaries was unchanged, the break-down of home and building burglaries was significantly different in 2013 than in 2012.

The category most changed in 2013 was theft. There were 39 more cases involving theft of items valued at more than $200 reported in 2013 than one year before, pushing the total for that category over 100 for the first time in three years. Thefts rose from 84 in 2012 to 123 last year. The 15-year high was set at 179 in 2004, the fewest thefts in a single year was 75 in 2011.

While there were more thefts, the number of aggravated assaults — all assaults that are not considered simple assault — took a huge nose dive, with 21 less cases reported in 2013 than the 37 recorded in 2012. In fact,  a new record low of 16 aggravated assaults was recorded last year. The previous low for the last 15 years was set at 21 in 2007; the record high was set at 56 in 1999.

The number of motor vehicle thefts dropped from 15 in 2012 to 10 last year, just one more than in 2009 when the record low was set. It’s also still only a fifth of the record high, set at 50 in 2001. Also notable is the fact that 2013 marked the eighth year that there were fewer than 20 vehicle burglaries recorded annually in Sulphur Springs.

Although 2013 mirrored 2012’s record low of 51 burglaries, there was significant change within the two types of burglaries — of habitations and buildings — which Sulphur Springs Police Department began tracking separately 10 years ago. Home burglaries jumped from the record low of 29 in 2012 to 42 in 2013; that’s the most home break-ins recorded in four years. The year with most home burglaries, 76, was in 2004. Conversely, there were only nine building burglaries in 2013, down from the previous record low of 21 set in 2009.  The most building break-ins in a year, 49, was set in 2007.

Crime in the three most violent crime categories, unfortunately, rose in 2013.

There was one more robbery reported in 2013 than the three of 2012, the same as in 2002. The four robberies recorded in Sulphur Springs in 2013 was still only a third of the record high set at 12 in 2008. In only one other year during the last 15 years has the number of robberies been in double digits — 10 in 1999. The record low for the category was set at two robberies in 2006 and repeated in 2011.

There were six sexual assaults recorded in 2013, a significant figure considering there were none in 2012 — the only year in which no sexual assaults were recorded on UCR data. While high, 2013’s figure was still less than the record of eight sexual assaults set in 2003. In only two other years were there more sexual assaults; seven were recorded in both 2004 and 2008.

There was also one homicide reported in 2013, the same as in 2009, 2005 and 2002. Since 1999, there have been only two other years in which homicides were recorded — a whopping three in 2003 and two in 2011.




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