GREENVILLE – The Greenville Police Department is in the process of preparing its 2013 Crime Analysis Report, which shows that the crime rate remained relatively stable last year.
Typically each crime analysis report is presented to the Chief of Police and shared at the monthly staff meeting. Based on the report’s findings, the Greenville Police Department can make approximations about how to most effectively patrol and enforce the city.
For 2013, burglaries are currently reported as totaling the same number as 2012 which was 172 incidences.
However in the previous three years, the City of Greenville experienced a steady increase in burglaries, with 2010 showing 117 incidences, 2011 showing 131 incidences, and 2012 showing 172 incidences.
Residents may remember in the spring of 2013 a rash of burglaries contributed to an increase in incidences. More than 30 burglaries occurred in that specific 30-day time span, according to Greenville Police Lieutenant Steve Strick, who noted that the effects of drug use may have been a cause.
“Heroin leaked out in 2013. No doubt about it. And I think that directly correlated to our crime rate increase,” said Strick. “In fact some of the people that we arrested from B and E’s were known drug users. So if you took them out of the picture, we’d be alright.”
According to the Greenville Police Department, home burglaries often targeted jewelry, computers, guns and loose cash, while many vehicular thefts involved whatever is in plain sight.
Lt. Strick estimated that only 10 to 15 percent of stolen items are returned to their owners, as many times the items are sold to individuals, or the owner does not record serial numbers for verification.
Rental properties and older properties that don’t have updated security systems are largely targeted by burglars, especially those with older doors and windows and a proximity to alleyways.
To prevent your own home from being targeted, a small amount of effort will likely go a long way.
“Spend money on lighting in the evenings, check your door locks and look out for your neighbors,” said Strick. “That’s the big thing.”
Due to the police department’s new Spillman software implementation, the agency is now able to generate maps representing criminal activity in a matter of minutes. The process was previously manual, which saves time that can potentially be used for strategic planning.
Regarding burglaries and thefts, the mapping process showed areas of East Main Street, Third, Fourth and Fifth Streets being hit the hardest in 2013.
Pertaining to thefts, the Greenville Police Department logged 348 incidence in 2013, which was an increase of eight from the prior year.
Vandalism offenses were logged as only 113 incidences for 2013, down from 90 in 2012, however the Greenville police department verified that this number may increase after they reevaluate their data.
Sex offenses in the City of Greenville were recorded as 26 incidences, which was up by nine in from the previous year.
And stolen vehicles numbered 23 incidences, up from seven in 2012.
However, the Greenville Police Department’s recording software does have limitations.
The Greenville Police Department’s mapping portion of Spillman software was not working optimally during its first year of implementation, and therefore a portion of the 2013 data is impartial.
As of February of 2013, the mapping program has been improved to the point where it is estimated at being 60 percent reliable, with the Greenville Police Department administration doing their best to adjust with personal experience.
Also due to switching to the Spillman system in Feb. of last year, the report does not include the dates of Feb. 1 through Feb. 3 in the total numbers, and the pin maps will not show the locations of any crime that took place prior to February 4, 2013.
For the purposes of the report, burglaries included breaking and entering, and vandalism included criminal mischief and criminal damaging complaints.
Despite the relatively stable numbers showed in the 2013 Crime Analysis Report, the Greenville Police Department is currently addressing the escalating drug problem coupled with a lack of necessary personnel.
“Drug enforcement was way down in 2013,” said Strick. “We didn’t have the funds to aggressively perform drug enforcement or the manpower either. Drug enforcement is a two-man operation, and your normal drug dealer won’t do business from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.”