City’s crime rate falls in 2012Published 8:40pm Saturday, January 26, 2013
The crime analysis report from the Selma Police Department shows a 21.2 percent drop in crime citywide when comparing 2012 and 2011.
That kind of drop in crime is significant, Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley III said, adding a targeted round up of career criminals, the use of the Crime Stoppers hotline and a more aggressive approach to following up on leads are all things that have attributed to the change.
“More people call [Crime Stoppers] now. [They’re] calling in with tips and information, which definitely helps out greatly when we’re trying to identify suspects in crime, when citizens are calling in,” Riley said. “Another thing is we’re much more aggressive in following down leads in crime cases.”
In the ten areas measured in the crime analysis report — arson, assault, auto theft, breaking and entering of a vehicle, burglary, forgery/fraud, murder, rape, robbery and theft — burglary, theft and arson were the areas that saw the most significant drop.
Burglary dropped 31.3 percent with 816 reported cases in 2011 to 561 in 2012. Reported thefts dropped 32.1 percent with 470 reported cases in 2011 to 319 in 2012. And arson went down 72.7 percent from 11 cases in 2011 to 3 in 2012.
All but three areas — breaking and entering of a vehicle, murder and rape — saw a decrease in reported cases from 2011 to 2012, but Riley said there are some things to consider when looking those numbers.
“In 2011 we had five murders. In 2012 we had five murders at well, but one guy that was shot in 2011, he died from his wounds in 2012. So in 2012 we had to carry that homicide,” Riley explained, noting that the murder rate for 2012 went up 20 percent with 5 reported murders in 2011 and 6 in 2012. “We look at our rape. We had five more in 2012 than we had in 2011. Now you have got to remember too that the federal government broadened the criteria for rape in 2011. They changed some qualifications on it so therefore what qualified as a rape in 2011 and 2010 and prior to it, has changed.”
Breaking and entering of a vehicle went up 2.7 percent from 373 reported cases in 2011 to 283 in 2012. And rape statistics show that Selma had a 21.7 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 with 23 reported cases in 2011 to 28 in 2012.
“We’re pretty pleased to have a significant drop in our crime in certain areas,” Riley said. “There was a huge drop in felony theft, a huge drop in our burglaries and we had fewer robberies in 2012 than we did in 2011. All that comes into play when you’ve got people calling in [to Crime Stoppers] and you take an aggressive stance in following up leads. So of course we were pleased with that.”
In looking to the future Riley said the quantity of police officers Selma has is going to be the key issue in keeping Selma’s crime stats low.
“In the future a lot is going to depend on a good number of police officers. What kind of hurts us in years, is keeping enough officers here that we can actively go after these cases,” Riley said. “Trying to hold on to our officers, and continue to have our number of officers grow — that’s going to be important to us.”