Both overall and in most separate categories, 2012 crime rates in Garden City decreased compared to 2011, according to the Garden City Police Department's master activity report. Compared to the crime rates in 2009 and 2010, the decrease in 2012 is even more dramatic.
The GCPD tracks nine categories each year: murder/manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, auto theft, arson and all other crimes, which include criminal damage, simple assault/battery, disorderly conduct, drug violations, sex offenses other than rape and auto burglary.
"Criminal damage would tend to be a leader in this category from month to month. The other crimes category varies a lot depending on other factors,¬ such as time of year, weather, etc.," Garden City police Sgt. Michael Reagle said.
In 2012, 1,596 "other crimes" were reported, compared to 1,746 in 2011.
The only two categories that remained the same or increased between 2011 and 2012 was murder/manslaughter, of which there was one in each year, and arson cases, in which there were 11 in 2011 and 12 in 2012.
The one incident that fell under the category of murder/manslaughter in 2012 occurred Sept. 18, when Odelia Hernandez, 65, 2820 Terrace Place, Apt. 21, was found dead at her home.
At that time, the GCPD was investigating the cause of Hernandez's death, which later was ruled as involuntary manslaughter.
When asked for the official cause of her death, Reagle said, "We do not disclose the coroner's report and the report is not subject to disclosure if involving a criminal case."
Reagle said no arrest(s) have been made in connection to the incident.
Arsons also remained stagnant with 11 cases in 2011 and 12 cases in 2012, in which five of the incidents occurred between Nov. 9 and Dec. 2, which combined caused about $5,400 worth of damages.
"Those incidents are still under investigation, and we have not made arrests at this point," Reagle said.
From 2011 to 2012, rape cases decreased from 22 to 14, robberies decreased from 12 to seven, burglaries decreased from 237 to 189, thefts decreased from 718 to 631, and auto thefts decreased from 27 to 16.
While the 51 aggravated assault cases decreased by only six, from 57 in 2011 to 51 in 2012, those types of crimes have decreased significantly since 2009 and 2010, when there were 73 and 71, respectively.
Overall, total crimes, which are made up of all of the aforementioned categories, dropped from 2,831 in 2011 to 2,517 in 2012.
When comparing 2012 to the years 2009 and 2010, in which total crimes were 3,915 and 3,127 respectively, there has been an even more significant decrease in crime.
What has caused the significant decrease is difficult to pinpoint, Reagle said.
"There is no easy answer to this question," he said. "We would like to think because we have a more experienced department, as far as individual officers' time with the department, their experience has let them better recognize trends and how to handle the criminal-related problems we deal with."
He also said that there are a number of other factors that have contributed to the decrease.
"We also do not pretend to take all of the credit either.¬ The community, as a whole, has been very instrumental in this.¬ We have people calling us to report suspicious activity before the crime takes place, and we have more people using CrimeStoppers and Tip411 to help us solve crimes.¬ We recently saw this with the Menards incident," Reagle said, referring to the arrests of four teens allegedly involved in vandalism at the store, which is under construction. "The more and more people in our community that get involved in helping us, the better job we are able to do."