County crime rate at 6-year low
91 percent of cases cleared
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

July 20, 2006 -- Crime in Hopkins County continued a downward trend that began last year, with a drop of nearly 10 percent in the overall crime rate for the first six months of the year.

More impressive, however, is the Hopkins County Sheriff's Office's 91 percent clearance rate for reported crimes so far this year. 

While not as significant as the decrease in the first six months of 2005 --159 crimes compared to 213 in the first half of 2004 -- this year's crime rate is at a six-year low, with only 144 crimes recorded through June 30 of this year.

The six-year record high of 214 was set in 2001.

Officers also cleared 91 percent of crimes reported compared to last year, when only 66 percent or 106 cases were solved by arrest or other means.

The 131 cases solved this year is just shy of the six-year high of 132 in 2001. In that same year, county officers took reports of 214 crimes, leaving nearly 40 percent of the crimes in 2001 unsolved.

The eight major offense categories -- criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, simple assault, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, vehicle theft and arson -- were virtually unchanged from one year ago. Two categories saw increases, while the rest decreased.

Once again this year, there have been no homicides recorded. Only murder has been reported over the last six years, and that homicide in 2004 was solved that year.

Also, no instances of arson or robbery were recorded in the first half of this year, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting data provided by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office. There have only been four robberies reported in the county since 2001. The only year any arson cases were recorded was 2003, when three occurred. Only one of those cases was solved.

This year's vehicle theft reports almost exactly mirror those of 2005, with seven vehicles reported stolen. However, deputies solved six cases this year compared to five last year.

Incidentally, 2005 and 2006 are tied for the highest rate of stolen vehicles in six years in Hopkins County. Before that, the highest was three cases, with two solved in 2004.

The number of forcible rapes is up significantly compared to previous years, with six on record through June 30. Three of those have been cleared. In the previous five years, only five have been reported, and three of those were cleared from the case files.

Larceny increased over the first six months of 2006 compared to one year before, up five from 51. That's still lower than the six-year high of 70 thefts set in 2004.

Conversely, 44 larcenies were cleared from the books this year as opposed to only 24 last year, and 21 in 2004.

Simple assaults hit a six-year low this year, with only 26 occurring between January and June. The low was previously 41, set in 2005. The high of 57 was set in 2001 when 58 simple assaults were reported. Officials also solved 27 simple assault cases this year, including one carried over from a previous year.

Aggravated assaults were also at a six-year low, with only six reported, down from 10 in 2005 and far less than the high of 27 in 2003. This year, officers have cleared from the books nine aggravated assault cases, which are any assault in which weapons are used or which causes aggravated injury.

There have been six fewer burglaries reported this year than the 49 in 2005, for a new record low for burglaries. The record high for burglaries was 68 in 2001. The second highest was 55 in 2002, a year in which only five cases were cleared from the books. This year, 42 burglaries were solved between Jan. 1 and June 30, the most in of the past six years, according to UCR data.

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