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Violent crime and property crime plummet in unincorporated Porter County in 2018

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The incidence both of violent crime and crimes against property was way down in unincorporated Porter County last year.

Alcohol-related arrests and OWI arrests--two separate categories--were way up.

And fatal traffic accidents dropped significantly, despite an accompanying decrease in traffic enforcement.

Those are the headlines from the Porter County Sheriff’s Office’s 2018 annual report.

Begin with violent crime: murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault. A total of 152 in all categories was reported last year, compared to 208 in 2017, a drop of 27 percent.

* Murder: the PCSP investigated no murders last year (one in 2017, zero in 2016, two in 2015, zero in 2014, zero in 2013).

* Rape: eight rapes were reported in 2018, compared to nine in 2017, a decrease of 11 percent (five in 2016, five in 2015, five in 2014).

* Robbery: three were reported last year, compared to four in 2017, a decrease of 25 percent (three in 2016, four in 2015, seven in 2014).

* Aggravated assault: 12 were reported in 2018, compared to 15 last year, a decrease of 20 percent (13 in 2016, 26 in 2015, 28 in 2014).

* Simple assault: 147 were reported last year, compared to 150 in 2018, a decrease of 2 percent (144 in 2016, 174 in 2015, 172 in 2014).

Crimes Against Property

Crimes against property, on the other hand, plummeted in the unincorporated areas last year.

* Burglary: 68 burglaries were reported in 2018, compared to 95 in 2017, a decrease of 28 percent and a five-year low (120 in 2016, 90 in 2015, 113 in 2014).

* Theft: 213 thefts were reported last year, compared to 355, in 2017, a decrease of fully 40 percent and similarly a five-year low (340 in 2016, 316 in 2015, 368 in 2014).

* Vehicle theft: 32 vehicle thefts were reported in 2018, compared to 40 in 2017, a decrease of 20 percent (30 in 2016, 37 in 2015, 31 in 2014).

UCR Part I

Taken together, the incidents in 2018 of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, burglary, theft, and vehicle theft--comprising Part I of the Uniform Crime Report filed submitted annually by the PCSP to the FBI--totaled 483, compared to 669 in 2017, a decrease of 28 percent (655 in 2016, 654 in 2015, 724 in 2014).

“This is the lowest reported total of UCR Part I crimes in the last five years,” the PCSP said. “One of the important aspects to mention is that thefts, burglaries, and aggravated assaults are also the lowest they have been in the last five years.”

Meanwhile, criminal arrests in all categories dropped 25 percent, to 1,453 from 1,931 in 2017 (1,999 in 2016, 1,789 in 2015, and 1,611 in 2014).

“I understand, and I believe we all understand, that some crime cannot be prevented and it is difficult to take credit for the reduction of crime statistically in Porter County, just as it is to take the blame if it goes up,” Sheriff Dave Reynolds said. “Porter County is listed by the U.S. census data as the ninth largest county in Indiana. Our county is one of the fastest growing in the State of Indiana because people consider, and see, that Porter County is a safe place to work, live, and raise a family.”

Substance Related

Alcohol-related criminal arrests, on the other hand, rose by 11 percent last year, to 61 from 55 in 2017 (125 in 2016, 77 in 2015, and 91 in 2014). Meanwhile, OWI arrests more than doubled, to 296 from 195 in 2017 (249 in 2016, 242 in 2015, and 320 in 2014).

Drug-related arrests were down by 27 percent, however, to 151 from 207 in 2017 (2016 in 2016, 207 in 2015, and 202 in 2014).

“In 2018 we had a total of 14 officers meet the criteria to attend the Drunk Driving Task Force’s DUI banquet, where they were honored for their work in keeping our streets safe and removing those driving under the influence from our roads,” the PCSP said. “The Sheriff’s Office led the way with a total of 488 overall DUI arrests for all of the agencies in Porter County, as well as having the two leading officers with the most DUI arrests. We believe this runs in tandem with the 40-decrease in fatal crashes in the county.”

Traffic Accidents and Enforcement

Traffic enforcement, as measured by stops, citations, and warnings, was down significantly in 2018:

* Traffic stops: 12,796 last year, compared to 15,083, a drop of 15 percent (12,495 in 2016, 10,101 in 2015, and 12,738 in 2014).

* Citations: 2,097 in 2018, compared to 3,461 in 2019, a drop of 39 percent (3,738 in 2016, 2,868 in 2015, and 3,863 in 2014).

* Warnings: 10,853 last year, compared to 12,476 in 2017, a drop of 13 percent (10,963 in 2016, 9,617 in 2015, and 13,092 in 2014).

Fatal accidents in unincorporated county fell by 40 percent last year, to nine from 15 in 2017 (seven in 2016, nine in 2015, and nine in 2014).

Personal injury accidents rose slightly by 2 percent in 2018, to 290 from 284 (314 in 2017, 314 in 2016, 318 in 2015, and 357 in 2014).

Property damage accidents were stable last year, 1,306 compared to 1,304 in 2017 (1,340 in 2016, 1,256 in 2015, and 1,336 in 2014).

Hit-and-run accidents fell dramatically in 2018, by 19 percent, to 67 from 83 in 2017 (91 in 2016, 78 in 2015, and 81 in 2014).

Other 2018 Numbers

* 911 calls: 3,948, compared to 3,613 in 2017, an increase of 9 percent (3,721 in 2016, 4,184 in 2015, 5,853 in 2014). “As our county has grown, so have the calls for service,” the PCSP said. “Although the size of our office has not grown to match the growth of the county, the level of professionalism has been raised within our agency and that bar has also been raised by the caliber of the officers hired. We have recently implemented body cameras and car cameras for all of the patrol officers. We feel this addition will provide a needed tool to keep our officers safer, promote transparency to the public, and reduce potential liability.”

* Average daily jail count: 364, compared to 424 in 2017, a decrease of 14 percent (411 in 2016, 401 in 2015, 411 in 2014). “The progressive programs we have implemented in our jail are helping to reduce recidivism and have resulted in the jail population being lower than it has been in 10 years,” the PCSP said.

Programs

The PCSP made note of two programs in particular: the Heroin Overdose Response Team; and One County One Protocol.

Of the former it said, “We are very proud of the proactive initiatives we have continued regarding our fight against the heroin epidemic that has plagued our county, by expanding the Heroin Overdose Response Team within our department. Our HORT initiative has been extended throughout the region and is being modeled throughout the State of Indiana.”

Of the latter it said, “The Porter County Sheriff’s Office continues to lead the way in school safety. As we continue to follow the implemented One County One Protocol, we have also increased our number of certified National Association of School Resources Officers (NASRO) to 21 from our agency alone. We will be sending at least 16 more officers to the NASRO training in the spring to bring our totals to 37.”

“It is important to me that the citizens of Porter County understand that the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, both those in the jail and those who patrol our streets and investigate crimes, are well trained and equipped to keep our county safe,” Sheriff Dave Reynolds said.

 

Posted1/29/2019

 
 
 
 

 

 

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