Crime on the climb in county
HCSO records 33 more offenses in first six months

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Aug. 6, 2004 -- More crimes were committed in Hopkins County during the first half of 2004 than in the same time period one year ago, according to Universal Crime Reports compiled by sheriff's officials.

Overall, there were 33 more crimes in Hopkins County so far this year than the 171 offenses recorded in the nine major offense categories last year. However, this year's semi-annual crime rate remains less than the four-year high of 214 recorded in 2001.

Conversely, while the number of crimes committed has increased, so has the number of cases cleared from the books through arrest, prosecution or other means. As of June 30, 116 cases had been cleared compared to the 99 in the same time span last year and the 81 cases in 2002. However, the rate is still fewer than the 132 cases officers cleared in 2001.

The numbers of cleared cases could have been higher. Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams noted stolen property recovered which could not be positively identified by its owners is not reported as a cleared case, even though the item has been found.

The number of crimes recorded in four of the nine major offense categories declined during the first six months of 2004, with no robberies or arsons at all this year. At the halfway mark in 2003, there had been one robbery and three arsons. There was also only one forcible rape in 2004, the same as in 2001, compared to two in 2003. No rapes were found to have occurred in 2002.

Simple assaults dropped from 57 in 2003 to 54 this year. Only 52 of those cases had been cleared as of June 30, whereas all were cleared for the same time period in 2003. There were also 54 simple assaults in 2002, and 58 in 2001.

Aggravated assaults - which include assaults resulting in aggravated or serious injury from weapons such as firearms, knives, hands, fists, feet or other weapons which are considered dangerous - jumped to 27, with one which had yet to be cleared at the end of the semi-annual reporting period this year. That figure marks a four-year high. Last year, officers had cleared all 13 aggravated assaults which were found to have occurred. Aggravated assaults were at a four-year low in 2002 when the 10 reported were all cleared by the first half of the year. Only 17 occurred in 2001.

While the 2003 semiannual report showed no homicides, 2004 started out with a shooting death in January, marking the first homicide occurring during the first six month reporting period in four years. The alleged assailant was arrested within a short span of time the afternoon of the incident.

There were two more burglaries this year than the 46 which occurred last year. However, that figure still is considerably less than the 68 which occurred in 2001 and the 55 reported two years ago.

Larceny, or thefts other than motor vehicle thefts, also rose dramatically, reaching a four year high. Of the 70 occurring, 21 cases had been cleared as of June 30, compared to the 14 out of 48 cleared last year. Two years ago, officers determined 57 larcenies had occurred, down from the 68 recorded in 2001.

Two of the three motor vehicle thefts occurring in Hopkins County as of June 30 had been cleared, while officers had only one to clear during the first portion of 2003. The semiannual report for 2002 showed no vehicles had been stolen, while two had been taken in 2001.

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