Chesterton Tribune



CPD: Fewer crimes reported, but more criminal charges pursued last year

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Both violent crime and property crime were down in the Town of Chesterton in 2016, Police Chief Dave Cincoski is reporting.

Calls for service were also down last year--by nearly 10 percent--but that decline is actually a reflection of the CPD’s shorthandedness: fewer officers on the street mean fewer traffic stops and other self-initiated investigations.

Begin with the Uniform Crime Reports (UCRs), which the CPD submits to the FBI on a monthly basis. There are two categories: UCR Part I, for violent crimes; and UCR Part II, for property crimes. Both categories show overall--and not insignificant--year-over-year declines in criminal activity.

UCR Part I:

* Assaults: 57 reported (90 in 2015), a decrease of 37 percent.

* Rapes: five reported (seven).

* Murders: zero (one).

* Robberies: two (one).

* Total UCR Part I crimes: 64 (99), an overall decrease of 35 percent.

UCR Part II:

* Arsons: zero (zero in 2015).

* Burglaries: 19 reported (30), a decrease of 37 percent.

* Thefts: 147 reported (209), a decrease of 30 percent.

* Motor vehicle thefts: 10 reported (16), a decrease of 38 percent.

* Total UCR Part II crimes: 176 (255), an overall decrease of 31 percent.

Filed Cases/ Criminal Charges

The CPD filed a total of 113 cases in 2016 (188 in 2015), a sizable year-over-year drop of 40 percent.

However, those 113 cases led to a substantial year-over-year increase in the total number of criminal charges pursued by the CPD in 2016:

* Adult felony charges (including burglary, sexual misconduct, sexual battery, rape, child molestation, and auto theft): 49 (21 in 2015), an increase of 133 percent.

* Juvenile felony charges (including intimidation and sexual battery): 11 (four).

* Adult misdemeanor charges: 27 (five).

* Juvenile misdemeanor charges: 31 (30).

Calls for Service

Total calls for service, on the other hand, dropped by 9 percent last year, to 12,355 from 13,518 in 2015. That’s 1,163 fewer calls in 2016 or an average of three fewer a day.

Calls for service, however, include not simply citizens’ calls to 911--complaints and reports which officers are obligated respond to--but all of the officers’ self-initiated, unobligated activities, such as traffic stops, those activities which officers perform “to fill vacant or quiet times between calls.”

Or as Cincoski puts it in his report, “Officers take it upon themselves to do exactly what their oath, training, and jobs require them to do: conduct traffic stops, enforce local ordinances, state, and federal laws, and perform community services.”

In fact, the underlying reason for 2016’s decline in calls for service was the CPD’s shorthandedness. For the entirety of the year, one officer was on unpaid administrative leave and two others spent a large portion of the year on medical leave due to work-related injuries.

Cincoski estimates that, had all three officers been available for duty all year, calls for service in 2016 would actually have increased by 737 calls--that is, by two a day--or roughly 4 percent over 2015’s 13,518 calls. And that hypothetical total of 14,255 would have been the second highest number of calls for service in the CPD’s history.

Calls for service in 2016 included the following:

* Traffic stops: 3,103 (4,763 in 2015), down 35 percent.

* Property-damage crashes: 373 (418), down 11 percent.

* Personal-injury crashes: 35 (33), up 6 percent.

* Fatal crashes: one (one).

* Runaways: 15 (19), down 21 percent.

* Shoplifting: 13 (six), up 54 percent.

* Vehicle repossessions: two (30), down 94 percent.

* Overdoses: 14 (10), up 30 percent.

Quality of Life 2016

Qualify of life, as measured very roughly by several different categories of call, was a mixed bag last year:

* Hit-and-run crashes: 74 (74 in 2015).

* Animal complaints: 92 (147), down 37 percent.

* Disturbances: 300 (312), up 4 percent.

* Indecent exposure: zero (three).

* Hunting complaints: one (two).

* Peddler complaints: seven (seven).

* Train complaints: zero (eight).

* Vandalism: 55 (85), down 35 percent.

Vigilance 2016

Citizens appeared either to be less vigilant last year or more confident in their security, at least according to the numbers:

* Suspicious circumstances, persons, or vehicles: 1,098 (1,236), down 11 percent.

* Driving complaints: 161 (229), down 30 percent.

* Requests for extra patrols: 152 (322), down 53 percent.

CPD Snap Shots 2016

* Longevity: the average CPD sworn officer had 13.5 years of experience; the average detective, 17.7 years; the average patrol officer, 10.6 years.

* Patrol officers are divided into four crews: two day crews (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and two night crews (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.). Each patrol officers works 12 hours per shift. When fully staffed, each day crew is staffed by three officers; each night crew, by four.

* Officers logged a total of 274,109 duty miles, with a daily average of 751 miles. Total fuel usage for the year was 23,921 gallons; average daily usage, 66 gallons.



Posted 2/15/2017




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