Crime is down--again
Catching more burglars helped
The number of burglaries on the Observer's Crime Map for December was so low it looked like a misprint: just eleven in the entire month, compared to seventy-nine in December 2012. It's vivid proof of the old adage that crooks stay home in bad weather--January's total (see p. 21) is also down. But there's more at work than a hard winter. "We look at what are called Part One crimes," says police chief John Seto--including murder, assault, robbery, and burglary--"and 2013's were down near 2011's, which were the lowest ever."
In a small city like Ann Arbor, month-to-month figures can fluctuate wildly--but five-year comparisons confirm the downward trend. From 2003 to 2008, the city averaged 3,429 Part One crimes per year. From 2009 to 2013, it averaged 3,028.
"B&Es are the lowest they've ever been," reports mayor John Hieftje. "They're down because the police arrested the perpetrators and put them in jail."
"Arresting people has a significant impact when one person commits multiple crimes," Seto explains. In ten arrests last year, the department picked up eighteen suspects linked to at least forty in-town B&Es.
Seto says they did it with "good old-fashioned police work, officers digging in and making connections." That, and CSI Ann Arbor: "Our officers are gathering more evidence which is leading to more arrests--more fingerprints, footprints, DNA, things like that," Seto says. "Because better tech is available, and we're getting better at using it."
[Originally published in March, 2014.]