City's crime rate for first six months virtually unchanged from 2007

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

July 22, 2008 - The overall crime rate in Sulphur Springs was virtually unchanged for the first six months of this year compared to the same time period in 2007, according to data provided this month by Sulphur Springs Police Department.

This year's six-month totals were the second-lowest number of offenses reported in the last nine years. There were 110 crimes reported in the first half of 2008, only one more than in the same period in 2007, a 0.9 increase in the overall rate. Tthe third-lowest was the 122 posted in 2005, while the high of 181 offenses was posted in 2004.

Compared to last year, there were more crimes in five of the seven major categories -- homicide, sexual assault, robbery, assault, theft of property and motor vehicle theft -- with only thefts declining from the 2007 rate. But the drop-off in larceny was enough to make up for the other categories.

Theft of items valued at more than $200 dropped from 56 in 2007 to 45 this year, marking a nine-year low. The high was set at 86 in 2006, followed by 85 in 2000 and 82 in 2004. The nearest low of 53 was set in 2001.

Overall, burglaries rose by four from last year, but at 32 still marked the second-lowest rate so far this decade. The most burglaries reported since 2000 was 70 in 2004.

In the last five years, the police department began further breaking down the burglary figures into home and building break-ins. This year has seen the fewest number of home burglaries reported in the first half of the year at 18, the same as in the first half of 2007. Prior to that, the low was 22 in 2005. The five-year high of 47 home burglaries was set in 2004.

Building burglaries this year were the third-lowest they've been in five years. There were only nine recorded in the first half of 2007, 11 in 2005, and 13 this year. The 5-year high was set at 23 in 2004.

Like the overall crime rate, vehicle thefts increased by only one this year to 10. Incidentally, the 2007 rate of nine vehicle thefts was the nine-year low, with 2008 the second lowest. The high was set at 25 in 2001 and repeated in 2005.

There were no homicides recorded in Sulphur Springs in the first six months of the year, marking the fifth consecutive year there have been no murders in the first six months of the year.

There were only two sexual assaults reported in the first half of 2007, three fewer than this year. The five sexual crimes are the most in the first half of a year in nine years in Sulphur Springs.

Robberies also reached an eight-year high at five, eclipsed only by the seven in 2000. There were no robberies recorded in the first six months of three years -- 2002, 2003 and 2005. This year's total is only two more than from January through June of 2007.

Aggravated assaults, those other than simple assaults, rose by two over the 12 posted in 2007. That's the same as in 2006. The record of 20 sexual assaults was set in 2000 and repeated in 2001. The low was set at 10 in both 2002 and 2005.

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