As the year winds down, Pine Bluff has seen a decrease in robberies and simple assaults from last year, a slight decrease in homicides, but an increase in reports of rape and attempted rape.
Those statistics were presented Wednesday by Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant to the city's Public Safety Committee, which is staffed by council members Win Trafford, Ivan Whitfield, and Joni Alexander.
As of Oct. 31, 24 homicides had been reported in the city, just four fewer than in all of last year, and only two fewer than at the same time last year. Forty-four reports of rape or attempted rape were taken in the city by Oct. 31, up from 38 at the same time last year, and two more than were reported in all of last year.
Reports of robbery were down significantly from last year, with just 52 reports as of Oct. 31, compared with 84 by the same time in 2019, and 100 in all of last year. Simple assaults were down slightly, with 1,087 reported through Oct. 31 of this year, compared with 1,119 reported through Oct. 31, 2019. A total of 1,304 simple assaults were reported during the full 12 months of last year.
Aggravated-assault reports showed a significant rise in the first 10 months of 2020, with 360 reports through Oct. 31, compared with 304 reports during the same time period last year. In all of 2019, 346 aggravated assaults were reported.
Property crimes of commercial and residential burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft declined significantly from last year to this year, with the largest declines in residential and commercial burglary.
In 2019, 461 residential burglaries were reported in the first 10 months of the year, while in 2020, only 235 reports were received. The year in 2019 with an additional 104 burglaries reported in November and December, for a total of 565 residential burglaries. Commercial burglary reports totaled 153 through Oct. 31, 2019, falling to just 83 reports during the same time this year, and closing out 2019 with 171 reports.
Police took 1,298 theft reports in the first 10 months of 2019, compared with 1,164 in the first 10 months of 2020. By the end of 2019, 1,522 thefts had been reported.
Motor vehicle theft also declined, with 225 vehicles reported stolen from Jan. 1, 2019 to Oct. 31, 2019, compared with 214 reports from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 this year. In all of 2019, 283 vehicles were reported stolen.
Sergeant also introduced a new metric, beginning with calls to the Patrol Division broken down by category, which he said he will expand to include the other divisions in coming months.
"This gives us a kind of overview of information I plan to begin providing in coming months," Sergeant said. "If you'll look, this kind of gives you a breakdown by shifts ... that will give you an idea on a month to month basis what the officers are doing."
The printout Sergeant provided showed that the Patrol Division had 3,738 calls for service during October; made 538 traffic stops; filled out 961 incident reports; investigated 144 collisions; wrote 85 collision citations, 52 hazardous violation citations, 181 non-hazardous violation citations, 117 hazardous warnings, 42 non-hazardous warnings; made 56 misdemeanor arrests, two felony arrests; investigated two DWI collisions and made two arrests for DWI.
"I really like this. I've always wanted a report like this from the [department]," said Alexander. "Question, is there a reason why alarm calls and welfare checks and stuff like that is not included?"
"No," Sergeant replied. "That's something that can be included, and it is in our total calls for service."
Sergeant said that in the future he could break out any additional categories the committee might want.
"I find it interesting that, when I look at the DWI category, there were only two of them and that was simply due to a wreck?" asked Trafford.
"That's what it looks like," Sergeant responded. "DWI collisions and that resulted in an investigation and those individuals were found to be DWI."
"Why do you find that interesting?" asked Alexander.
"I just feel like there's probably more people out there drinking and driving," Trafford said.
"They're drinking and staying at home now, that's what it is," said Whitfield. "Most of your clubs is closed and that kind of thing so I think that's why you see the decrease."