SIKESTON -- Year-end reports for crime in Sikeston "show what a department can do when they're fully staffed, fully funded," according to Drew Juden, director of the Department of Public Safety.
Juden said DPS having the support of the city council and community "makes a huge difference in what takes place in a community."
Looking at the overall picture for 2005, statistics are "about as normal as you can anticipate," according to the police chief.
DPS records show a population of 18,000 of which 12,789 are age 16 and over. A total of 24,175 calls for service were received by DPS in 2005 which is 254 more than in 2004 "but still nothing like we've had in years past," Juden said. Considering as recently as four or five years ago this number peaked at around 30,000 to 31,000, "it's down significantly," he said.
"I think that indicates the swing in the community," Juden said. "The crime stats are generally down, our calls for service are generally down, the serious crimes are down."
A total of 1,814 offenses were logged during 2005.
There were no homicides reported in 2005 or 2004, a streak broken in February by a homicide on Dorothy Street. Three homicides were reported in 2003.
DPS records list seven rapes for 2005, up slightly from 2004 during which only five were reported but still lower than the 10 reported in 2003.
The 21 robberies reported in 2005 were about the same as previous years with 20 in 2004 and 17 in 2003.
Motor vehicle theft was also about the same with 36 listed for 2004 and 31 in 2003 as compared with the 38 reported for 2005.
Burglaries were up somewhat compared with the last two years at 185 last year compared with only 164 for 2004 and 130 in 2003.
Larcenies were up slightly, too, at 596 in 2005 after seeing 532 in 2004 and 564 in 2003.
The total value of property stolen in 2005 was $826,767 of which $368,807 was recovered.
Also in 2005, 187 felony assaults and 780 other assaults were reported.
"I think the good news is if you look at the trend over the last four or five years, I think we are leveling off at this point," Juden said, noting his department has seen a 30-40 percent drop in serious crimes such as robberies, rapes, homicides and felonious assaults since he became director.
A total of 2,254 arrests were made in 2005 and 848 offenses were cleared by arrests in 2005 for a clearance rate of 46.7 percent.
"I think it's a real good clearance rate," Juden said. "The overall clearance rate looks at everything from larcenies to very minor calls that we just don't have the manpower to allocate for investigations."
DPS sets priority on crimes like burglary, rape, child molestation and homicide, "and that's where we spend the majority of our time," Juden said.
He noted the department is in the 80 percentile for clearance of serious crimes routed to the criminal investigation division "which is just exceptional."
On the traffic side of things, a total of 2,285 vehicle stops were made by DPS in 2005 during which 2,831 traffic citations were written. In 2004, 2,278 vehicle stops were made, an increase of 9 percent over 2003.
A total 1,016 accidents were reported in Sikeston of which 260 were private property accidents and 756 were on roadways. In 2004, only 651 accidents were reported, a decrease of 14 percent from 2003.
As for the department's plans and strategies for this year, "as always, we try to be more proactive than reactive," Juden said, which he said is a key to DPS's success.
Unlike agencies that wait for events to happen and then react to those events, "we're always looking at trends and activities that are going on," Juden said. That way programs can be put into place for situations "before they become a major problem for us."
For example, Juden said command staff started this week off by arranging extra staffing for the good weather in the forecast and the increase in calls that generally comes with it.
Other items of note for DPS during 2005 include:
* two successful drug/warrant roundups and three safety checkpoints;
* a new roof and HVAC system for DPS headquarters;
* a new printer upgrade for headquarters and computer upgrades for the police and fire divisions and Municipal Court building;
* two new administrative offices were built at DPS headquarters and an additional report and interview area were added on the main floor;
* dispatching was upgraded and a new community camera system was installed;
* a terrorism conference Nov. 2 and a major case squad homicide seminar April 21 were attended;
* and three new patrol cars were purchased for the patrol division.