Overall crime in Springfield down first 2 months of 2023
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said the opioid crisis appears to be easing, too.
Crime overall was down the first two months of this year in Springfield, according to Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams.
He told city council last night that auto thefts were down significantly from the same time last year, and theft from vehicles was also down.
But he said burglaries were way up.
"Mainly commercial burglaries increased dramatically the first part of this year, and we are going to put some efforts in place to hopefully stem that tide," he said
Williams said, in February, there were no reports of shots fired and no one was shot – the first month in three years that’s happened. But he said that didn’t last.
"The first two weeks of March, we had 12 shots fired calls with five people shot, and 10 of those and three shootings occurred over one weekend," said Williams, "so, a short-lived respite from that."
All of the shootings were solved, he said. Three people were arrested, and no one died.
Williams said the drug trade involving methamphetamine, opioids and marijuana — regardless of legal status — "is still a huge issue in our community."
But he said the opioid crisis is easing. Through the end of February in Springfield, there were zero overdose fatalities. Officers administered Narcan 12 times in the first two months compared to 152 times all of last year.
"I think we're making some inroads, I hope, on the holistic approach of looking at addiction and substance abuse," he said, "and people are paying attention."
And Williams said they're making progress bringing officer numbers back up to where they need to be. Eighteen recruits — 15 men and three women — recently graduated from the Springfield Police Department Academy. But he said there were three officers who retired and three who resigned in March.
There are already 18 people scheduled for the next academy class in June. And Williams said, they've had 35 interest letters and nine applications from a national recruiting effort that's underway. He hopes to have 25 people in the June academy.