KINGSBURG – Crime in Kingsburg is falling, according to statistics provided in the latest Kingsburg Police Department’s report.
Sgt. Kevin Pendley provided the December 2017 report at the Jan. 17 City Council meeting and said he couldn’t pinpoint exactly why the numbers of crime incidents overall have fallen back to numbers similar to three years ago.
According to the report, the total number of crimes in town in 2014 was 352. In 2015, that total jumped to 441. In 2016, total crimes dropped to 419. In 2017, the number fell to 351.
When asked by City Councilman Sherman Dix as to whether it was changing state laws or crime statistic reporting that was affecting the numbers, Pendley said it was difficult to say exactly.
“I do know looking at all the crimes overall, 2017 was almost like 2015. They’re almost mirrored. I really don’t know what that’s attributed to.”
“Is it the economy? Or does that have to do with Prop 47 or some of the changes in the way things are categorized?” Dix asked.
Pendley said he does inform citizens that more and more criminals are being released, and thus it pays to be vigilant.
“Only the hardened criminals are in prison. All your thieves, your minor and violent offenders are all out and it’s really hard to put them back,” Pendley said. “I do know in December, we did make a lot of warrant arrests and put a lot of people in jail. The average is about two weeks. They get two weeks, then after that it goes to court for probation.”
The December 2017 report showed that Part I crimes increased by 23 in comparison with November. Part I crimes include murder, rape, robbery, assaults, burglary, theft and auto theft. Other offenses declined by 11 from 30 to 19.
“Assaults were the biggest issue the department had to deal with. It was mostly domestic issues,” Pendley said. He reports that thefts were unusually high in December and part of that may be attributed to the holiday season. Thieves took advantage of residents’ absences while they were away on vacation or at work.
“There were a lot of package thefts and car thefts and people away resulting in burglaries.”
One such instance was where a woman had a package stolen in December that contained a $6,000 check. A man and wife are the suspects and police discovered an identity theft situation.
“We made two arrests and uncovered identity theft. He’s a felon and she’s going to be a felon. He also had ammunition. They worked as a team to steal mail and steal other’s identity,” Pendley reported.
Mayor Michelle Roman said it must be frustrating for the officers to arrest suspected criminals only to realize they’ll soon be back out on the streets.
“A lot of times, the officers are writing reports and [the suspects] are already out. It’s the world we live in and just a fact of life now,” Pendley said.
Councilman Dix said since he serves on the town’s Safety Committee, they’ll look to get input from the Police Department as to the best locations to place 50 crime-deterring signs around the community.
“We see them as a deterrent so if someone sees them, it makes the criminals uncomfortable. If we could see a map or look at the stats as to where to locate them.”
In other matters, City attorney Michael Noland gave a brief update regarding the local public safety tax measure proposed for the June ballot. The issue will be discussed further at the Feb. 7 City Council meeting. The council will vote on whether to adopt the proposed ballot language, resolution, ordinance, impartial analysis and arguments in favor and/or against the measure.
An online survey is available on the city’s website regarding the proposed tax and the results will be made available at the Feb. 7 meeting.
Mayor Roman said she’ll get input from both the fire and police departments as to their priorities for the funding if the measure is approved by voters in June.