|County's crime rate at a 5-year high, but number of cases solved also on the rise|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Jan. 13, 2005 -- Like the city of Sulphur Springs, the crime rate for Hopkins County in 2004 hit a five-year high.
Last year's overall crime tally showed 30 more crimes were committe than the 382 recorded in 2003.
But while the crime rate was at a five-year high in 2004, so were the number of cases cleared.
Over the past five years, authorities have solved more cases from year to year. In 2004, 226 cases were solved compared to 207 in 2003, 198 in 2002, 196 in 2001 and 150 in 2000.
Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams added that the actual number of cases cleared is probably a bit higher due to cases which have been solved but which are still being processed through the legal system.
For 2004, the number of offenses committed rose in five of the nine major offense categories recorded by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office - criminal homicides, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larceny thefts and motor vehicle thefts.
No robberies were recorded in Hopkins County in 2004, and only one arson, compared to the three which occurred in 2003. The arson was cleared from the books last year. Adams said that he anticipates an even better ability to solve arson cases in the near future, as Hopkins County Fire & Rescue is planning to add an arson investigator and arson detection dog to its crew.
Also, there was only one forcible rape, down from two in 2003, all of which were solved.
Unfortunately, there were two criminal homicides last year, one more than in 2003 and 2000. In all three years, those cases were cleared by conviction or other actions.
The number of simple assaults committed in Hopkins County showed a significant decrease in 2004, falling from 114 in 2003 to 67 last year. Only two of the simple assaults which occurred last were not cleared from the books.
But the number of aggravated assaults occurring in Hopkins County hit a five-year high at 67 in 2004. That's up from 24 aggravated assaults in 2002 and 2003. Investigators cleared all but three aggravated assaults than occurred in 2004.
Burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle thefts were three categories which also rose in 2004, but so did the number of cases solved. Of the 114 burglaries in 2004, 34 were resolved, up from 2003, when only 20 of the 101 cases were solved.
Adams said solving burglaries this year became a bit more difficult than in some previous years because of the increased number of burglary rings operating in Hopkins County and across North Texas. At one point, investigators identified what they believed to be four rings operating at the same time in Hopkins County in 2004. However, he said, the diligence of deputies and investigators in patrolling and following up on leads resulted in more cases being solved.
The number thefts rose from 134 in 2003 to 143 last year, according to sheriff's department data. Forty-seven of the larceny-thefts were wiped from the records last year.
2004 also marked a record high for motor vehicle thefts with 18, a figure which appears especially high when compared with the two previous years, during which only two vehicles were stolen. Of the 18 reported stolen, 13 cases were solved.