Thefts increase for 2007 in Susanville
“The core of what we do is that when someone calls the police department, we send units to respond and help as best we can,” Atkinson said. “Everything else comes second to our ability to help.”
From 2006 to 2007, arrests only went up by four, increasing from 660 to 664. Misdemeanor arrests went down 6 percent, from 515 to 484, while felony arrests went up 24 percent, from 145 to 180. Atkinson explained this increase could be due to a change in the nature of crimes being committed, not just in the city but across the country, and the increase in felonies reflect that.
Breaking down the statistics even further, Atkinson and Downing provided a chart comparing major crimes from 2006 to 2007.
As in years past, no murders were reported for either 2006 or 2007, which Atkinson said is always good news for both the department and the community.
Major crimes that did increase included rape, robbery, aggravated assault, larceny (petty theft, grand theft) and auto theft. Atkinson explained while the numbers did increase from one year to the next, the number of incidents was still significantly low, which he said most likely didn’t indicate any alarming trends developing.
For example, reported rape cases in the police department’s jurisdiction went up from five to six, robbery incidents went up from five to eight, and aggravated assault cases went up from seven to 12.
The increase in general theft from 222 to 267 and the increase in auto theft from 10 to 22 was one area Atkinson said these are two things that concerned him.
“We have the unlocked vehicles that people get into, we have the locked vehicles that people get into, we have bikes that get left in the front yard that don’t get locked up that people just take,” Atkinson said. “My guys are out patrolling. They are out all the time. We’ll work on it, because that kind of stuff drives me crazy. It’s just an ongoing battle for us to try and catch up with that kind of crime.”
As for the increase in auto theft, Atkinson said that while the increase is horrible, the majority of the thefts could be attributed to one man.
“There is one person who is probably responsible for two-thirds of that 22,”Atkinson said. “He is presently assigned to a state prison. It took us a while to catch him, but we finally caught up to him.”
Downing mentioned how all of the 14 or 15 cars stolen by the car thief were all recovered.
Atkinson also said during the number of dispatched calls or calls coming into the station decreased in 2007, from 6,497 to 6,263. Atkinson said he was particularly proud of the increase in incidents or arrests initiated by officers and reported back to the station. He pointed out that for a staff that can be anywhere from 16 to 18 people to be able to handle a volume of almost 10,000 calls makes them very busy, but effective.
“I like the fact that our officer-initiated calls went up,” Atkinson said. “It shows that we’re not sitting in the police department. (Officers) are out doing things, and that in itself can deter crime just by those guys being out and in contact with folks.”
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