Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Overall year-to-date crime down 25% in last two years

This may surprise you, but year-to-date crime in Kansas City is down 25 percent from 2007. You read that right: crime has fallen 25 percent in the past two years.

You likely won’t hear that on the news. In fact, what you see and read every day would probably lead you to believe that crime is sky-rocketing. I will say that our homicide rate is unacceptably high, and we are fighting day and night to stop the killings. Many of them come from issues beyond police control, like poor anger management skills. (And oddly, 2007 had one of our lowest homicide rates this decade, but had much higher overall crime. I think we can conclude that the number of homicides does not reflect the overall crime picture.)

Aside from homicide, however, the only other category of crime that has increased in the past two years was arson, which was up 13 percent. Nearly all other crime categories have gone down by double-digit percentages:

Rape: -9%
Robbery: - 13%
Aggravated assault: -26%
Burglary: - 10%
Stealing ($200 and over): - 15%
Stealing (under $200): - 33%
Auto theft: - 40%

These stats cover June 2007 to June 2009 and are the Uniform Crime Report statistics that we submit to the State of Missouri. We are still processing the July information. You can see the full summary here

This downward trend could be the result of a variety of factors, and I don’t claim to know all of them. I do know what our department has done. In 2008, the Metro Patrol Division started a special Property Crimes Task Force to combat auto thefts and burglaries in their division. That led to the arrest of several career thieves who are finally behind bars, reducing thefts all over the city. And as you can see, car thefts are down 40 percent.

In 2007, officers in the East Patrol Division received training and supplies to collect DNA at burglary scenes. This, too, has led to the arrest and incarceration of career criminals. We also have conducted numerous warrant sweeps, often in partnership with federal and other local law enforcement agencies. Last December, we fanned out in four target neighborhoods looking for and arresting those suspected to be involved in violent crime.

Without a doubt, Kansas City is a safer place now than it was just two years ago.

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