Law enforcement looks to close books on, learn from, 2013

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comJanuary 28, 2014 

— As January ends, area law enforcement is taking a look at 2013 to see what’s improving and what isn’t.

Last week the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released its crime statistics for 2013. Overall, property crime dropped 6.1 percent and violent crime 2.7 percent from 2012. Fueling the drop were dips in burglaries (17 percent), vehicle theft (13 percent), aggravated assault (5.3 percent) and larceny (almost 2 percent). The reduced burglary figure includes a better than 33 percent drop in commercial calls, more than 11 percent in residential.

Countering those gains were increases in arson (12 percent), homicide (11.5 percent) and rape (6.4 percent). Robbery increased by less than half a percentage point.

Capt. Christopher Dozier leads the Steele Creek Division, a 60-square-mile area also served by 95 officers, three area leutenants, seven sergeants and an investigative technician. Dozier said Steele Creek saw an overall crime drop last year compared to 2012.

“We had an overall crime reduction of 7 percent, while our violent crime was up 9 percent and our property crime was down 9 percent,” he said.

Violent crime, which rose, makes up a much smaller portion of the overall case load than property crimes, which decreased. So far this year the district sees a similar trend.

According to CMPD crime mapping data, most of the crime in Steele Creek so far this year has been theft and was reported at larger business or shopping areas like RiverGate. The first three weeks of January saw 41 theft/larceny cases, 14 assaults, 12 burglaries, 11 vandalism cases and 10 fraud cases. There were five reports of both motor vehicle theft and drug and alcohol violations. There was one robbery, vehicle break-in and sex offense, each.

In York County, yearly reports are being compiled this week. Trent Faris, public information officer for the York County Sheriff’s Office, said the majority of calls in Lake Wylie are similar to what Steele Creek is seeing on their side of the bridge. Shopping centers like Mill Creek Commons bring in the most calls, and they’re property crimes rather than violent ones.

“We mostly see shoplifting cases,” Faris said.

York County lists monthly data through November. Of those 11 months given, only four saw higher larceny totals than the same month in 2012 and only three months saw increases in motor vehicle theft. Arson, breaking into cars and robbery increased from the same month in 2012 about as often as they decreased. The biggest increase came in burglaries, where seven months in 2013 saw increases from the same month in 2012.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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