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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Springfield Police Department's 2016 crime reporting through the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) has been completed, and the year-end data shows an overall increase in Part 1 crime in Springfield of 8 percent, compared to a 4.5 percent increase in 2015.
Crimes against persons decreased slightly due to a drop in robberies (4.5 percent), aggravated assaults (1 percent) and rapes (1.7 percent). The number of homicides dropped from 10 in 2015 to eight in 2016.The rate at which SPD detectives solve these most serious of crimes continues to increase, resulting in a 65 percent clearance rate for all violent crimes in 2016.
Robberies occurring in and around parking areas, which were highlighted in last year’s report, showed a significant decrease in 2016, from 135 to 89. The leading contributing factor for aggravated assaults continues to be domestic violence. Aggravated assault is an unlawful attack by one person on another for the purpose of inflicting severe bodily injury, often with a weapon involved. More than half of the reported aggravated assaults in Springfield are happening among family members or domestic partnerships.
After a 3 percent decline in 2015, the total number of property crimes rose by 8 percent in 2016, and increases were felt across the board.
Burglaries, including residential and commercial, increased by 9 percent from 2015. Residential burglaries were almost equally distributed between those occurring at night and during daylight hours. Larceny/theft rose by 7 percent, though there were 72 less shoplifting incidents in 2016 thanks to a cooperative agreement with Wal-Mart and the company’s new theft-prevention initiative at stores. Theft from vehicles remains a persistent problem in Springfield: 586 more reports were received by SPD in 2016 than in 2015.
The most startling statistic in 2016 was the fact that vehicle thefts increased by almost a third over 2015, resulting in 396 more vehicles being reported stolen in 2016.
A preliminary review of this data reveals that about 40% of vehicle thefts are the result of people leaving the keys in the vehicle or leaving their vehicle running and unattended. “While SPD recovers over 80% of these vehicles, it is a significant drain on police resources to have to address a problem that is 100% preventable – by the victims.” said Police Chief Paul Williams. “Lock your car, take your keys – never leave it running and unattended, even for a moment – and you remove the opportunity for a crime to occur.”
“SPD will be working on a variety of options to address this problem throughout 2017,” Williams continued, “including additional community education efforts, seeking enhanced investigation tools and personnel, and targeted enforcement."
Now that year-end statistics are being reported to the FBI by those agencies across the country that voluntarily choose to participate in the UCR program, “rankings” may begin to surface on the Internet. According to the FBI, UCR data is only useful for comparing a city to itself, because there are many factors that cause the nature and type of crime to vary from place to place. The FBI outlines the pitfalls to ranking cities in an online document explaining the proper use of UCR data. The FBI’s document includes the following.
UCR data are sometimes used to compile rankings of individual jurisdictions and institutions of higher learning. These incomplete analyses have often created misleading perceptions, which adversely affect geographic entities and their residents. For this reason, the FBI has a long-standing policy against ranking participating law enforcement agencies on the basis of crime data alone. Despite repeated warnings against these practices, some data users continue to challenge and misunderstand this position.
“Unfortunately there are many third party websites that supply ‘crime information’ and use a proprietary process to compare or rank cities -- none of which is verifiable or accurate,” said Chief Williams. “The SPD does not provide data to any of them, and the data used is most often a year or two old. The only true, accurate and fair comparison to be done is against ourselves using historical data.”
Media Contact: Lt. Grant Dorrell417-864-1422GDorrell@springfieldmo.govRelease authorized by: Chief Paul Williams