County sheriff's office sees overall crime uptick in 2012
By ANGIE HAFLICH
Crime rates showed a slight increase in 2012 in comparison to 2011, as reported by the Finney County Sheriff's Office,.
While the Garden City Police Department tracks nine categories of crimes each year, Sheriff Kevin Bascue said his department tracks total occurrences.
"We had a total for 2011 and then 2012 of what we call total occurrences, and it's when we respond to a call and we take a report. It may not result in someone being arrested or charges being filed, or after an investigation, it could even result in no crime having been committed," Bascue said.
Finney County officers responded to 1,376 occurrences in 2011 and 1,470 occurrences in 2012.
Bascue said because of a smaller jail population in 2012, he expected those numbers to decline, but the figures were normal for his department.
"I just assumed they'd be down because the jail numbers are down, but the police department's numbers were down and they generate the highest number of prisoners that are lodged in our jail. That's where the largest population is at, in the city limits, so that's to be expected," Bascue said. "I just assumed that our crime numbers were going to be down as well. I think if we went back (to 2009 and 2010), we'd be able to show that our numbers are lower than several years ago."
The past two years' occurrences are down from 2009 and 2010, when Finney County deputies responded to 1,634 and 1,659 occurrences, respectively.
Within the total occurrences, the Finney County Sheriff's Office tracks as many as 50 categories, which include assistance calls, traffic accidents and curfew violations, as well as more serious categories such as aggravated assault, arson, assault and battery, burglary, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, drug violations, theft, motor vehicle theft, robbery, murder/manslaughter, rape and other sex offenses.
Some of the cases by category stayed the same, but others increased or decreased.
There were 88 cases of criminal damage in both 2011 and 2012 and there was one robbery in both 2011 and 2012.
"We had one homicide in 2011, but zero in 2012," Bascue said.
From 2011 to 2012, arson cases decreased from four to one; assault and battery cases dropped from 33 to 25; motor vehicle thefts decreased from two to one; and sex offenses decreased from 15 to 14.
"Sex offenses include indecent liberties with a child, sexual assault, those kinds of things," Bascue said.
The categories with the greatest increases in 2012 were aggravated assault, burglary and theft.
"Aggravated assaults, we had six in 2011 and we had 16 in 2012, so that was an increase. Thefts, we had 131 in 2011, 161 in 2012, so that was a significant increase. Rape, we had four in 2011, (and) seven in 2012. Burglary was up too. In 2011, we had 51 burglaries, and in 2012, we had 61 burglaries," Bascue said. "That includes auto burglaries, home and business burglaries."
He said those categories made up the bulk of the increase from 2011 to 2012, but sheriff's officers also responded to an additional 94 calls.
"Our crime rate did increase slightly in 2012 and our activity, the number of calls we responded to, increased," Bascue said.
Having jurisdiction of the entire county plays a role in dictating the number of occurrences deputies respond to, he said.
"Typically, we respond to calls outside of the city limits, but we handle stuff in the city, too, and in Holcomb," he said, adding that deputies will also respond to situations they observe within the city limits, such as DUIs, which rose from 20 in 2011 to 31 in 2012.
"There are some citizens, when they have a situation, they only call us," Bascue said. "We typically don't get dispatched to calls in the city, but we do periodically, because we do have some victims that specifically request a deputy, so dispatch will send them. It's probably a small percentage, but some of those numbers probably do reflect crimes that occur in Garden City."