Hopkins County enjoyed reduced crime rate in 2003
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

January 23, 2004 -- While crime in Hopkins County decreased from 2002 to 2003, the number of cases cleared increased. Similarly, 382 of the 302 offenses reported were found to be actual crimes in 2003 compared to the 408 cases found to be actual offenses from among the 420 reported in 2002.

This marks the first time in at least four years that the overall annual crime rate in Hopkins County has dropped, but this year's figures continue to be above the rates recorded in 2000 and 2001.

In 2000, 359 of the 367 reports were found to be actual crimes, while 375 of the 390 reports made by sheriff's officers in 2001 were found to be actual crimes. 2002 saw 30 more reports made at the sheriff's office than in the previous year, and of those 32 more were found to be actual offenses than one year before.

Conversely while the crime rate in Hopkins County continued to grow from 2000-2002, officers cleared more cases as well, the latter a trend that continued even with the marginal drop in crime in 2003. Officers cleared only 150 cases in 2000, 196 in 2001, 198 in 2002 and 207 in 2003.

Despite the drop in the overall crime rate this year, five of the nine major offense categories (homicide, forcible rape, simple assault, motor vehicle theft and arson) experienced increases, with aggravated assaults coming in at 24 for the second consecutive year while three categories (robbery, burglary and larceny/theft) decreased overall in actual offenses.

One homicide was reported and found to be an actual offense solved in the county in 2003, compared to one homicide report made in 2002 which was found not to be an actual offense.

Two forcible rapes occurred and were solved in 2003, while only one was reported in 2002 and was later determined not to be an actual offense. The 2003 rape statistics mirror 2000 and 2001 when two rapes occurred and were solved.

Simple assaults rose by two offenses in 2003 from 112 to 114, but so did the number of simple assault cases that were solved also. In 2002, 110 simple assault cases were cleared up compared to the 115 cleared in 2003, an indication that at least one of the unsolved cases at the conclusion of 2002 was finally solved in 2003. The number of simple assaults occurring has steadily increased over the past four years. In 2000, there were only 71 simple assaults, while 2001 brought a whopping 108 simple assaults.

Both of the reports of stolen motor vehicles made in 2003 were found to be valid cases, with one case solved. In 2002, only one report was made to county officers of stolen vehicles and then determined later not to have been stolen. Those figures are considerably lower than the 6 cases of vehicle theft in 2001 and 16 cases in 2000.

Three arson cases were recorded in 2003, only one more than in 2002. Similarly two of the arson cases were solved compared to only one resolved in 2002. Sheriff's data indicates there were no incidents of arson in Hopkins County in 2000 and 2001.

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