FBI: Sweet Home’s crime rate dipped last year as state’s rose

Sean C. Morgan

Based on data collected by the FBI, while crime rates increased statewide, Sweet Home’s crime rate continued to decline in 2017, falling by 9.7 percent from the year before.

The FBI released its Uniform Crime Reports for 2017, which summarizes crime trends and statistics throughout the country, on Sept. 24.  UCR information provides law enforcement with data for use in budget formulation, planning, resource allocation, assessment of police operations, etc., to help address the crime problem at various levels.

During 2017, Sweet Home had 404 crimes “known to law enforcement” tracked by the FBI, down from 440 in 2016. Based on a population estimate of 9,337 in 2016, the rate of crime was 47.12 per 1,000 residents. Based on a population estimate of 9,500 in 2017, the crime rate last year was 42.53 per 1,000 residents.

The crimes tracked by the FBI include the violent crimes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault and the property crimes burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. Not included are crimes like criminal mischief, criminal trespass, some sex offenses, warrant arrests and other less serious crimes.

Sweet Home did see an increase in violent crimes, from nine in 2016 (a rate of .96 per 1,000 residents) to 21 in 2017 (a rate of 2.2 per 1,000 residents), while it had a decrease in property crimes, from 431 in 2016 to 383 in 2017, according to the report.

“It’s always good,” Lynn said. “You always want to see that decrease.”

But the outlook isn’t as good.

Crime statistics are rising this year in Sweet Home, Lynn said. “We’re on a trend back up. Our focus is how do we stop it.”

Among property crimes, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle reports are higher.

UEMVs are not directly counted in the FBI statistics, but thefts from UEMVs are counted.

“Ryan Cummings (sergeant) is supposed to be working on a program to minimize UEMVs,” Lynn said. Most of it will come down to education, but the department also will likely use focused patrols and bait items.

Thefts have fallen, but UEMV alls are up, he said, increasing the amount of property crimes by 4 percent.

Person crimes are increasing a little as well, Lynn said. The department has received 104 calls ranging from assault to child neglect so far this year. In the same period last year, Sweet Home had 76 person crime calls.

He noted that the number of crimes counted in the FBI rate are part of a small sample size, which can make small increases look like large swings.

In July, Sweet Home had four assaults reported, down from eight in July 2017, Lynn said. The department had six harassment calls, up from four last year, and two violations of restraining orders, down from three last year.

“It’s hard to draw a lot of assumptions there,” Lynn said. He noted that most of the offenders are known to the victims in those cases.

Across Oregon, the crime rate increased 7.3 percent, from 32.47 crimes per 1,000 residents to 34.85 crimes per 1,000 residents. The number of violent crimes increased 6.2 percent, from 10,983 to 11,674 in 2017. The total number of property crimes increased 9 percent, from 121,716 to 132,722 in 2017.

Nationally, the crime rate fell 3.2 percent, from 28.49 per 1,000 residents in 2016 to 27.56 per 1,000 residents in 2017.

The violent crime rate decreased from 3.98 per 1,000 residents in 2016 to 3.94 per 1,000 residents in 2017. The property crime rate decreased from 24.52 per 1,000 residents in 2016 to 23.62 per 1,000 residents in 2017.

Around the state, crime rates vary substantially.

In Linn County, Albany had a rate of 27.2 crimes per 1,000 residents, while Lebanon was at 39.58 crimes per 1,000 in 2017, both lower than in Sweet Home. Violent crime rates in all three cities was below the national rate, with Sweet Home at 2.2 per 1,000, Lebanon at 2.67 per 1,000 and Albany at 1 per 1,000.

Among Oregon’s largest cities, Portland had a rate of 61.93 per 1,000 residents, with a violent crime rate of 5.2 per 1,000 residents. Salem had an overall rate of 46.21 per 1,000 residents and a violent crime rate of 3.78 per 1,000 residents. Eugene had a rate of 41.16 per 1,000 residents overall and a violent crime rate of 3.87 per 1,000 residents.

Elsewhere in the state, Grants Pass had an overall crime rate of 44.27 per 1,000 residents, with a violent crime rate of 2.63 per 1,000 residents.

On the coast, Lincoln City had a rate of 54.28 per 1,000 residents, and a violent crime rate of 5.46 per 1,000 residents.

North of Linn County and east of Interstate 5 in cities similar to Sweet Home in size, Stayton had a crime rate of 34.49 crimes per 1,000 residents, with a violent crime rate of 3.31 per 1,000 residents. Silverton had a rate of 23.28 crimes per 1,000 residents and a violent crime rate of 1.78 per 1,000 residents.