City's crime rate lowest in nine years

UCR tally declines in break-ins, thefts

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Jan. 21, 2008 - The crime in Sulphur Springs for the third straight year has declined once again, according to Uniform Crime Report statistics.

The number of offenses reported in the city dropped by 52 from 217 in 2006 to 219 last year, a 19 percent decrease. The third-lowest total of 277 crimes was recorded in 2005, while the nine-year high was 375 in 1999.

The UCR rate is based on the seven major crime categories - homicide, sexual assault, robbery, assault other than simple, burglary, theft of items valued at more than $200 and motor vehicle theft - recorded by Sulphur Springs Police Department.

Crime dropped significantly in four categories. And while there were more sexual assaults and robberies than in 2006, there have been no criminal homicides reported in the city in two years.

There were only 21 assaults, which cover aggravated assaults in which weapons and/or serious injuries were involved, in 2007. That's five fewer than in 2006 and a 19 percent drop. The nine-year high was 56 in 1999.

In 2007, about 32 percent fewer vehicles were stolen than the 19 recorded in 2006. That's also a nine-year low. In fact, the number of motor vehicle thefts has continued to drop annually since 2004, when 37 were stolen. The high was set in 2001 at 50, 74 percent more than in 2007.

Burglaries were also at a nine-year low with only 70, 15 fewer than in 2006. The recent high was 118 in 2002, tied in 2004.

The city began keeping separate counts of residential and non-residential, or building, burglaries in 2004, and the figures have declined each year except 2006, when building burglaries rose by two to 40. Residential burglaries declined by four to 41 in 2007. There were also 11 fewer building burglaries in 2007 than the 40 recorded in 2006.

Theft of items valued at more than $200 dropped 22 percent, from 138 in 2006 to 107 in 2007, also a nine-year low.

SSPD Chief Jim Bayuk attributed the drop in thefts and burglaries partly to the diligence and conscientiousness of officers patroling neighborhoods and business districts.

He also noted that while the number of sexual assaults increased from one in 2006 to five in 2007, a significant number of the assaults were committed in previous years, but not reported until last year. Such is the case, for example, when an adult or teen reports they were molested as a child.

The five sexual assault cases police worked in 2007 was still three fewer than the nine-year high of eight in 2003.

Robberies, which can include any type of theft involving a weapon, rose in 2007, but not much, as there were only three reported. The total is considerably lower than 1999 when 10 robberies were recorded.

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