Overall A Good Year – Crime Stats 2023

Kristy Tallman

This past week the Sweet Home Police Department (SHPD) released their statistics for 2023 and according to Police Chief Jason Ogden, it’s been a busy year but statistically speaking a better year overall for crime.

“In 2023, the total number of crimes reported in our town was 1917, marking a 9.55% increase from the 1743 crimes reported in 2022. However, it’s important to note that the number of crimes resolved also increased from 1094 in 2022 to 1268 in 2023, which is a 16% increase.” said Ogden.

According to Odgen, this increase in resolved crimes is larger than the increase in reported crimes. “Furthermore,” stated Ogden, “the proportion of reported crimes that were resolved, also known as the clearance rate, improved from 63% in 2022 to 66% in 2023. This indicates that despite the increase in reported crimes, our department was able to resolve a larger proportion of these crimes in 2023 compared to 2022. So, while we did see an increase in reported crimes in 2023, our department has been effective in resolving a larger number and a higher proportion of these crimes.

“This suggests that our department has been successful in serving our community despite the challenges. Even though we still face challenges, the resilience and strength of our community have never been more apparent. The increased clearance rate is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our law enforcement officers, who have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety and security of our community.”

SHPD reminds folks not to be too concerned about the increase in calls as this could actually be a good sign for the city, “it’s important to remember that an increase in reported crimes can also be a sign of growing trust in our law enforcement. More people reporting crimes means more people believe in our department’s ability to bring help and hope to these kinds of situations. As we move forward, we remain committed to fostering a safe, welcoming, and vibrant community. We believe in the power of unity, the importance of transparency, and the value of each and every member of our community. Together, we will continue to grow, learn, and create a community where everyone feels safe and valued. We are more than just numbers or statistics. We are a community bound by shared experiences, mutual respect, and a common desire for peace and prosperity. And that is something truly worth celebrating. Here’s to a brighter, safer future for all of us in Sweet Home.”

When looking at the actual crime statistics the police department received 10,578 calls for service. Of those calls 9,854 had incident numbers issued with the total number of computer aided dispatch (CAD) numbers issued at 18,597. There were a total of 756 arrests, of those 709 were adults and 47 were juveniles. Of those there were 1393 charges brought against adults and 55 charges brought against the juveniles arrested.

When breaking down the crimes police dealt with throughout the year based on crime types, the police department responded to 247 calls for service regarding personal crimes. Personal crimes consist of homicide, assault, harassment, sex crimes, menacing, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, domestic violence, elder and child abuse.

Increases were seen in calls for service in assaults from 45 arrests in 2022 to 73 in 2023. There was a decrease in harassment from 69 arrests to 67. There was an increase in the number of violations regarding restraining orders at 24 incidents and 8 arrests regarding violations of stalking orders. For these types of crimes there were a total of 247 crimes reported with 184 of those crimes being cleared by arrest, exceptionally or were unfounded.

Ogden feels the reasons behind this category of crimes surpassing other crimes could be due to the state’s passing of Measure 110 In November 2020, “[reclassifying] possession/penalties for specified drugs; Drugs affected include heroin, methamphetamine, PCP, LSD and oxycodone, as well as others.

In the category of property crimes the department responded to 653 service calls. Property crimes consist of arson, burglary, theft, criminal mischief, motor vehicle theft, robbery, unlawful entry into a motor vehicle and reckless burning. Of these calls there were 140 arrests with the highest increase being seen Burglary and Theft crimes.

There were 296 calls for society crimes which consist of driving under the influence of intoxicants, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, criminal trespass, escape, runaway, drug offenses and weapons offenses. Of societal crimes the largest increases were seen in arrest made for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and weapons offenses. there was a marked decrease in alcohol offenses, runaways, and other society crimes. In total there were 198 arrests made, a decrease of three arrests when compared to 2022.

In Oregon specific crimes, which consist of custodies, traffic crimes other than DUII, and warrant arrest there were 721 calls. There were a total of 986 arrests made in the categories of protective custody with 49 arrests, traffic crimes with 54 arrests and warrants served were 883.

In total for 2023 there were 1448 total charges made against people with 1393 of those being adults and 55 being juveniles. Of those charges there were 709 adults arrested and 47 juveniles arrested.

In the category of Non-Criminal calls for service there were a total of 8661 service calls. These consist of violations such as Abandoned vehicles, agency assists, 911 hang ups, alarm calls, death investigations, disturbances, domestic disputes, juvenile, motor vehicle crashes, public assists, suspicious activity, traffic, and trespass warnings.

During 2023, there were a total of 1639 traffic stops made. Of those traffic stops there were 449 total citations issued for various violations. Of those citations, 277 total persons were cited with 1348 warnings being issued.

There were a total of 189 motor vehicle crashes within Sweet Home in 2023 with no fatalities. Of those crashes there were 30 who sustained injuries and 89 that sustained no injuries. There were 4 hit and run vehicle injury cases and 66 hit and run incidents with property damage, and 25 crashes that involved a DUII arrest.

The total number of traffic stops for 2023 was 1639 compared to last year’s total of 1018.

In 2023 the total citations that were issued were 449 which is an increase from 287 in 2022. There were 277 persons cited with 1348 warnings issued.

In looking ahead, Ogden says one of the areas they are focusing on for improvement in 2024 is the upkeep and modernization of their department’s building. Their facility, being over 20 years old, has served them well but is now in need of updates and renovations to continue to meet their needs and those of the community they serve.

In 2023, they made significant strides by replacing the roof and the HVAC system, both of which were nearing the end of their service life.

“These upgrades not only improved the functionality of our building but also demonstrated our commitment to maintaining a safe and comfortable environment for our staff and visitors. For 2024, we plan to continue this momentum by addressing other necessary building improvements and updates.”

Ogden says they believe that the state of their facilities is a reflection of their department’s professionalism and dedication to serving the community. “By investing in our infrastructure,” says Ogden, “We are not only enhancing our operational efficiency but also reinforcing our commitment to excellence. The way we present ourselves to the public matters. A well-maintained, modern facility sends a message that we value our work, our people, and the community we serve. It shows that we are prepared to adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of our community. We look forward to making these improvements and continuing to serve our community with pride and professionalism.”

Ogden said, “In reflecting on the achievements of 2023, the implementation of the patrol K-9 program stands out. Transitioning from a drug K-9 to a patrol dog was a strategic decision that has yielded results. Our patrol K-9 has been instrumental in reducing our use of force in some situations, fugitive apprehension, and of course, public relations.”

“Moreover,” continued Ogden, “the patrol K-9 has significantly contributed to officer safety and suspect apprehension. The dog has been trained to safely apprehend a suspect and protect the handler in a variety of different scenarios. The implementation of the patrol K-9 program has not only enhanced our department’s capabilities but has also fostered a stronger relationship with the community we serve. It’s a testament to our department’s commitment to innovation, public safety, and community engagement. We look forward to seeing the continued success of this program in the years to come.”

Ogden says when speaking of the department’s overall performance for 2023, “I am filled with immense pride and admiration for our officers and dispatchers. Their unwavering dedication, resilience, and commitment to serving our community have been nothing short of extraordinary.”

He said his officers have consistently demonstrated exceptional professionalism and courage, often in the face of challenging and unpredictable situations. “They have shown an admirable ability to adapt and respond effectively to the unique challenges presented to them on a daily basis. They continue to remain steadfast in their commitment to maintaining public safety and order. They have worked tirelessly, often going above and beyond their call of duty, to protect our community members and ensure their well-being. Our dispatchers, the unsung heroes of our department, have also played a crucial role in our success. Their ability to remain calm under pressure, provide critical information to our officers, and offer reassurance to distressed callers has been invaluable. They are the vital link between the community and our officers, and their efforts have undoubtedly saved lives and prevented further harm.”

Ogden also shared the goals the department has for 2024:

• Addressing the Rise in Person Crimes: Continue to investigate and address the underlying causes of the rise in person crimes in Sweet Home. This includes working closely with community organizations, local businesses, and residents to develop effective strategies and interventions.

• Tackling the Impact of Fentanyl: Enhance efforts to combat the effects of fentanyl in the community. This includes increasing public awareness about the dangers of fentanyl, improving access to treatment and recovery services, and strengthening collaboration with health and social service agencies.

• Building Improvements and Updates: Carry out necessary updates and improvements to the department’s building to ensure it continues to meet the needs of staff and the community. This includes maintaining a professional and welcoming environment that reflects the department’s commitment to excellence.

Improving Crime Clearance Rates: Strive to further improve the clearance rate for reported crimes. This includes enhancing investigative capabilities, leveraging technology, and fostering strong relationships with the community to encourage crime reporting.

Community Engagement: Strengthen community engagement efforts to foster trust and collaboration between the department and the community. This includes hosting community events, increasing transparency, and actively seeking community input on department policies and practices.

“While we are committed to achieving these goals” says Ogden, “it’s important to recognize that progress may not always be linear. There may be times when, despite our best efforts, we face setbacks or do not see the improvements we hope for.”

He says this is particularly true in the context of crime rates, which can be influenced by a wide range of factors beyond the department’s control. “However,” adds Ogden,” it’s crucial to remember that these moments do not define our success or the value of our work. Even if property and person crimes rise, it does not negate the hard work and dedication of our officers and dispatchers. It simply means we face new challenges that we need to understand and address.”

Ogden said it is in these moments, that it’s important to not be discouraged by the numbers but to use them as opportunities for learning and growth.

“We will continue to analyze trends, adapt our strategies, and work tirelessly to improve the safety and well-being of our community. Our goals serve as a compass, guiding our efforts and helping us stay focused on what matters most. Whether we achieve these goals in the expected timeframe or not, every step we take towards them is a step in the right direction. And that is something we can always be proud of. Remember, we are more than just the challenges we face. We are a community of resilience, strength, and unity. Together, we will continue to strive for a safer, healthier Sweet Home. Here’s to a future where we rise, not despite our challenges, but because of them.”