They are still calculating the numbers, but Bryan Police say overall, crime is on the decline.
These numbers are through November of 2006 compared to that same time period in 2005. The department does not expect them to change with any significance when the December statistics are calculated.
There was one murder more in 2006, and also a slight increase in robberies. Inexplicably, arsons rose significantly, from 13 to 34.
But with all other crime categories, the city saw declines. That includes burglary (-18 percent), rape (-40 percent) and theft (-7 percent). And when it came to so-called violent crime, there has been around a 10 percent decrease since the department implemented its E-strategy. That's well ahead of its goal of 5 percent each year for 5 years.
"It's a cooperative effort between the police and the public," said Assistant Police Chief Peter Scheets. "You're going to be as good as the public is in reporting it to you or responding to it."
Also significant to authorities is the times they are called for service, and how fast they can get there.
When all the stats are finalized -- and the percentage changes aren't expected to fluctuate much, if at all -- it appears calls for services in Bryan will have declined by around five percent.
And how fast police are getting there is of great pride to the department, as from 2005 to 2006, their response to Priority 1 calls has improved by two minutes (from around 8 to around 6). On Priority 2 calls, they're getting to the scene in around eight-and-a-half minutes, a major improvement over 2005's 25-minute time, and something Scheets credits his officers and the 9-1-1 district with.
"Good news for the citizen," he said. When you call the Bryan Police Department, they're going to get there in minutes faster than they have in past years."
Overall, total arrests in the city will have increased by around a quarter, as did arrests of adults. Juvenile arrests decreased by around 15 percent. Authorities are continuing to analyze what, if any, affect the new juvenile curfew had on that.
"With the arrests going up, again, you have the potential to see a decrease in similar types of crime," Scheets said.
And that theory also comes with the issuance of citations. The total will have gone up by around 40 percent from 2005 to 2006 (16,400 had been issued as of November 2006). The traffic safety unit of the department accounted for a little less than a quarter of those (3,728 as of November 2006), but they issued around 60 percent more citations than the previous year.
Scheets says those citations could very well have helped decrease the traffic accidents in Bryan (down around six percent). And if you think adding a few extra dollars to their coffers was a motivation to cite people, Scheets says to think again.
"That is not the purpose of an officer, especially a traffic safety officer, going out and writing citations," he said. "It's to increase awareness and reduce accidents."
As for the 10 percent decline in violent crime (murders, sexual assaults, robberies and aggravated assaults), that should do something to help Bryan's third-place state ranking in violent crime per capita.
"The goal is to get us out of the top 10," Scheets said.
"I think it is," he added.
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