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An Analysis of Why Crime Rates Have Dropped in Springfield

The Springfield Police Department released its crime report for the third quarter of 2011, and the report showed a decrease in almost every category of crime offenses, including robbery, assault  and rape compared to this time last year. For some analysis, KSMU’s Rebekah Clark talked with the SPD and asked the question, “Why?”


The stats show it all.

The crime rates in almost every single area of reported offenses have dropped, according to the SPD’s official report—and some significantly. Officer Lee Walker says the trend is partly due to new officers on the streets.

“We’ve taken officers and put them in parts of town that have the greatest need for police response. All parts of the city, of course, need officers, but some have a greater need, just based on crime statistics from previous time periods.”   

Walker said that before this year, the SPD had officers spread pretty evenly around the city, but a new redistricting plan now has officers in specific areas to address lingering crime problems there. Walker said it’s common sense that if potential criminals see a police officer in the area, they are less likely to commit a crime.

“Also, we’ve been able to get several academies’ worth of new officers on the streets, so our total overall number of officers is back up, fortunately.”

Walker also pointed out that many economic factors could play into the lowered crime rates as well.

“We, by no means, believe that the crime rate has dropped just because of our actions. There’s a huge set of conditions, and it’s just the totality of the circumstances, that could lead to a change in crime rate like this. I do believe the economy could play a big part in that.”

One of the offenses reported—robbery—dropped over 6%. Forcible rape and theft each dropped by around 3%, and reports of aggravated assault dropped over 10% compared to the same time period last year.

Manslaughter cases were the only category that remained the same, and that was already at zero cases.

Walker says he still encourages people to report any crime they see, and make yourself, in his words, a “hard person to victimize” to keep crime rates down.

He says a couple of ways to do that is to keep all personal belongings locked up, and get involved with your local neighborhood watch program.

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.