Crime rate continues to fall nationally, locally

Emily Inverso

Serious crimes in Kent are down 4 percent from last year, keeping with the trend of a nation-wide decrease in violent crimes of 6 percent as reported by the FBI Monday.

Through July 2010, the Kent Police Department had recorded 483 crimes that included homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson. That number was down to 466 crimes by the same time this year.

“We’re not Mayberry, here,” said Kent Police Chief Michelle Lee. “We do have robberies, we do have murders, so they’re not unheard of, but it is definitely great to see numbers going down.”

From 2010 to 2011, Kent has seen an approximate decrease of 6.5 percent in burglary, larceny and auto theft. Slight increases of numbers do exist in assault from 116 to 117, in homicides from one to two, in robberies from five to eight and in arsons from six to seven. Even with those varied increases, the city’s total records are decreasing.

One of the most recent ideas behind why crime rates continue to lower is the nationally decreasing number of males between the ages of 18 and 25, said Kent Police Administrative Lieutenant Paul Canfield.

“There is a national decrease in the nation’s population of those likely to offend, or commit those types of crimes,” Canfield said. “Since there are fewer people to offend, there are fewer offenses.”

According to the Associated Press, the national crime rates decreased 10 percent for robberies, 5 percent for rapes and 4 percent for murder, non-negligent manslaughter and aggravated assault. The last time national rates were that low was in 1963.

On a national level, aggravated assaults accounted for 62.5 percent of the FBI estimated 1,246,248 violent crimes reported in 2010. In the city of Kent, though, larceny comprised the largest portion—53.8 percent—of the city’s serious crime reports by July 2010. Assault came in second at 24 percent.

“The past couple years I have been pleasantly surprised that people and students have been easier to deal with and more cooperative,” Lee said. “We had a nice spring and nice fall last year. We hope that trend continues.”