City crime rate decreases from 2014 to 2015
The rate of serious crimes committed in Quincy declined by 25 percent this past year, the Quincy Police Department reports.
And some city leaders are attributing the decline to the growth in the number of police officers on the city’s streets.
“We have a larger staff and a little more of a presence,” said Tom Harris, city councilman and a member of the city’s Public Safety Committee. “People are getting to know who (the officers) are.”
“I think it’s a combination of (efforts),” agreed Chief Bob Heimbach. “We have more officers and we are becoming more successful in our case resolution. We’re getting convictions, which means the bad guys are going away.”
Statistics from the Quincy Police Department point to a 25 percent reduction in Part 1 crimes from 2014 to 2015. Part 1 crimes include arson, assault, burglary, homicide, larceny and theft, motor vehicle thefts, rape and robbery.
Broken down, those crime numbers in 2014 and 2015 include: from two to one case of arson; from 27 to 12 cases of assault; from 140 to 98 cases of burglary; from 229 to 193 cases of larceny or theft; from 34 to 19 motor vehicle thefts; from six to three cases of rape; and robberies stayed stagnate at three a year in 2014 and 2015.
There were no homicides committed in the city limits in 2014 or 2015.
Statistics also show a 24 percent reduction in Part 2 crimes from 2014 to 2015. Part 2 crimes are lesser charges than Part 1.
And there’s an 18.8 percent decrease in “Quality of Life” offenses from 2014 to 2015. Quality of Life crimes include such offenses as graffiti, vandalism, animal complaints and other nuisances, Heimbach said.
The 2015 Grant County Health District Assessment shows that crime in Quincy has been declining over the past 20 years. The trend follows a similar one across the state, the county reports.
A new software program the police department purchased last year allows it to better monitor and track crime and trends on a month-by-month basis, he said. So if crimes such as burglaries or car thefts are on the rise, the department then is able to shift police resources accordingly.
The police department also plans to roll out a new website this year that will include a map of crimes committed around the city. The idea is to give citizens a better idea of what is happening in their neighborhoods, Heimbach said.
The police department at full staff employs 20 commissioned officers. With 20 officers, Quincy averages about 2.8 officers per 1,000 people in the city of more than 7,200 residents.
In 2005, the department had 10 commissioned officers and operated on a budget of $875,000. The city had 5,265 residents in 2005.
Today, the department operates on a budget of more than $2.4 million.
Heimbach said he often hears from citizens that they are seeing more police officers on the streets. More officers means the department can spend more time talking to citizens and getting involved in the community, and that creates pressure on habitual offenders, he said.
Heimbach also sees the community rallying behind its local department.
“I think part of (the reason for the decline) is there is more faith in the police and the officers,” he said.
Harris also credits the decline in crime to the leadership of the police department. Heimbach has been innovative since he came to the city more than two years ago, Harris said.
The department’s efforts need to be applauded, Harris added.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com