Crime hits six-year low in Hopkins County
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Jan. 10, 2006 - Crime reached a six year low in Hopkins County in 2005, with only 336 crimes reported. Last year, crime fell 18.4 percent, with 76 fewer crimes committed than in 2004, according to Uniform Crime Report data.

Crimes was at its highest in 2004 when sheriff’s officers worked 412 cases, with 2002 the second highest over the last six years at 408. There were only 359 crimes in 2000, 376 in 2001 and 382 in 2003.

In fact, crime was down in seven of the nine major crime categories — criminal homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. The only categories which showed increases were forcible rape and simple assaults. There were no arson recorded in 2005, according to UCR data.

There were four forcible rapes reported in 2005, a six year high. During 2002, there were no rapes, while there was only one in 2004, with two in 2000, 2001 and 2003. In each year as many rape cases were cleared up as reported.

The number of simple assaults committed in 2005 was also marginally higher than in 2004. In fact, there were only three more simple assaults last year than the 67 in 2004, still considerable fewer than the 114 which occurred in 2003, the 112 of 2002, 108 of 2001 but almost parallel to 2000 when 71 simple assaults occurred. Sixty-four simple assault cases were cleared from the books in 2000 and 2005, while 65 were cleared up in 2004, 108 in 2001, 110 in 2002, and 115 in 2003 reflecting at least one unresolved case from 2002 being cleared in 2003 as well.

Fortunately, there were significantly fewer aggravated assaults, 16 last year compared to 67 in 2004. That figure too was at a six year low, as there were 44 recorded in 2000, 26 in 2001, and 24 in 2002 and 2003. Aggravated assaults consist of assaults in which injury was rendered utilizing a weapon such as a firearm, knife or other cutting instrument, or other dangerous weapons or use of personal weapons such as hands, fists and feet to cause aggravated injuries. Simple assaults consist of all other assaults. 

Fourteen aggravated assaults were cleared from the books in 2005, 63 in 2004, 23 in 2003 and 2002, 39 in 2000, and 28 in 2001 representing at least two aggravated assaulted unresolved at the conclusion of 2000 being cleared in 2001 in addition to that year’s cases.

Only one homicide was committed in 2005, while two were committed in 2004. Criminal homicide includes murder, non-negligent homicide and manslaughter by negligence. There were no homicides in either 2002 or 2001, and one each in 2000 and 2003. Officials cleared as many homicides as were reported each year.

Larceny thefts were at a five year low as far as the number reported, but at a six year high as far as solved cases went. In 2005, 56 of the 119 burglaries were solved, compared to 47 of 143 solved in 2004, 41 of 134 in 2003, 37 of 145 in 2002, 33 of 129 solved in 2001 and five of 117 solved in 2000.

There were also six fewer burglaries in 2005 than the 114 recorded one year before. Deputies also cleared 14 more burglary cases from the books last year than in 2004, with 48 Hopkins County burglaries solved by either arrest or other means last year compared to 34 the previous year. That’s twice the number of burglaries sheriff’s officer solved in 2000, another year in which there were 108 burglaries. However, that year, there were only 24 burglaries cleared. In 2001 there were fewer burglaries reported, 104, and only 21 solved. In 2002 only 24 of the 122 burglary cases were solved, and only 20 of the 101 burglaries cleared in 2003.

One less vehicle was stolen in 2005 than in 2004, but only 10 of the 17 cases were cleared last year whereas 13 of the 18 stolen vehicle cases were solved in 2004. There were no stolen vehicle cases in 2002, and only two in 2003. In 2000, there were 16 cars stolen and 15 of those cases were cleared, with four of the six cases in 2001 solved as well.

Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams noted that while the UCR data shows that 336 crimes were reported with only 198 cases solved, that is not a completely true representation of the volume of cases which his deputies and investigators have both worked and cleared.

He explained that one numerous occasions deputies and investigators from his office have worked with other local agencies and counties on joint efforts to solve cases, and that while his department may have been instrumental in solving those other cases, they are not reflected in Hopkins County’s UCR data but on the reports reported by other counties and agencies.

�We have cleared more cases,� Adams said. �Some of them have just been for other agencies. One of the more recent burglary investigations cleared cases in multiple counties. We have a real good group with patrol working and helping CID [the criminal investigations division] and working with other agencies. We�ve been getting information which leads to solving cases through the combined effort.�

There was only one robbery in 2005, but the case had been cleared at the conclusion of the year, as was the case in 2001. No robberies occurred in either 2000 or 2004. While one of the three cases reported in 2002 remained unresolved at the conclusion of 2002, it was cleared in 2003 along with single robbery which occurred in that year.

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