In College Station, preliminary estimates on crime in 2006 show small declines in a majority of categories.
The final statistics are still being tallied, but there aren't expected to be any big changes. Among the notable numbers are declines in robberies (-10 percent), aggravated assaults (-28 percent) and rapes (-5 percent).
A couple increases were seen in a pair of burglary stats, with coin-operated machine burglary inexplicably sky-rocketing (+1680 percent, with 89 incidents through November 2006). Also, building burglaries rose 36 percent.
But overall, the department says College Station is still quite the safe city to live in.
"When I look at what's happening, not only around the state, but around the country, we're just blessed to live in a community where we can look at these types of stats and spend our time working on more quality of life-type issues," said Assistant Chief Larry Johnson of CSPD.
What peaks the interest of College Station Police when it comes to the likely year-end stats are an increase in traffic accidents. The total number of wrecks increased by around three percent, while major accidents rose further (eight percent), and fatal wrecks further still (167 percent, eight accidents over 2005's three).
There was not a significant change in the amount of alcohol-related crashes, meaning there were likely other factors, such as construction.
"One of the things, I think, probably contributes as much, if not more, are the distractions, such as cell phones and doing those types of things, and speed and those types of issues," Johnson said. "So we try to make the public aware of those issues and try to encourage compliance."
Those public awareness efforts would mostly fall under the category of proactive work, something CSPD strives to achieve. But the amount of time officers have to proactively work for the city dipped from 21 percent to 16 percent, meaning officers were spending more time reacting to crime.
Those reactions were actually a bit slower in 2006, as response time to high and low priority calls increased. Johnson pins some of that on construction in the city, especially on Texas Avenue along which CSPD is located, and says while response time isn't a perfect indicator, the department is working on keeping officers on patrol longer.
"We are constantly reevaluating what we do to try to get maximum effort out of what we already have, and that was one of the things we did in reconfiguring beats," Johnson said.
All of this as the department continues to emphasize that more officers are needed, that the city may be safe last year, but not as much in years to come.
"We are very concerned about having the ability to continue to deliver the services that we've always done with the resources we have," Johnson said. "So it is a concern for us, and we'll just try to do the best we can with what we have."
Just as Bryan earned international accreditation this past year, College Station has been accredited since 1991.
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