The North Carolina Department of Justice and the State Bureau of Investigation recently released the annual summary of the Uniform Crime Report. The report contains statistics statewide and by county of crimes in 2011.
“The rate per 100,000 people of Crime Index offenses reported to law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina decreased 0.9 percent during 2011 when compared to the figures reported in 2010,” according to the report.
“The rate of violent crime (which includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) decreased 5.2 percent statewide. Individually, the murder rate increased 5.9 percent, the rape rate decreased 2.8 percent, the robbery rate decreased 4.1 percent, and the aggravated assault rate decreased 6.0 percent,” the report said.
“The rate of property crime (which consists of burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft) decreased 0.5 percent across the state. The rate for burglary decreased 0.9 percent and larceny increased 0.4 percent. The motor vehicle theft rate decreased 7.9 percent. A property crime not included with the other Index offenses, the arson rate decreased 9.2 percent,” the report said.
“For Crime Index offenses, the number of juveniles under the age of 18 arrested declined 6 percent in 2011, while adults arrested for Crime Index offenses increased 2 percent. For violent crime, juveniles under the age of 18 arrested decreased 10 percent, while adult arrests decreased 6 percent. For property crime, the number of juveniles under 18 arrested declined 5 percent, while adult arrests increased 4 percent,” the report said.
Meanwhile, in Anson, property crime is up but violent crime is down in 2011 compared to 2010.
Anson had an overall Crime Index rate per 100,000 people of 4,941.4 in 2011 versus 4,825.4 in 2010. The overall Crime Index includes violent and property crimes. The violent crime rate in Anson was 393.5 per 100,000 versus 553.6 in 2010. The property crime rate in Anson was at 4,547.9 per 100,000 versus 4,271.8 in 2010.
“The Uniform Crime Rate was initially put together as an administrative aid for police departments to judge what’s going on,” Wadesboro Police Chief Janie Schutz said. “It’s kind of hard to judge because you’re not really judging apples to apples.”
She illustrated how the statistics can be misleading with an example If a robbery occurred at a bar and 10 people had money stolen from them, then the perpetrator walked out of the bar and robbed someone else, that would be considered two robberies. Another example would be a robbery that leads to murder. Only the murder would count in the statistics because the highest level crime committed is counted by the UCR.
She said nationwide, crime is down or holding steady and believes that over time the statistics in Wadesboro would show that as well. She said that one factor that might be affecting the statistics would be the difficulty of achieving the habitual felon status for a repeat offender due to the use of plea bargains in an overwhelmed court system. A disproportionate number of crimes are committed by the same people
She said many agencies are moving to an “incident based reporting system” where in the example of the robbery above at the bar, the statistics would log 11 robberies.
“Initially, it would look like crime is going up but we want the real numbers,” she said.
She said that property crimes are a big problem in Anson.
“When people get desperate, sometimes they do stupid things,” she said. “And some people are just bad.”
She said that crime is not just a problem for the police but a social problem as well and should be looked at in that context. “This is a problem not just for the police but for the community.”
Sheriff Tommy Allen said he could not comment without seeing the numbers but acknowledged property crime was a problem in Anson.