In the first three months of the year, violent and property crimes are down almost across the board from 2012 and are at their lowest they’ve been in a decade.
According to the Hermiston Police Department, there were 156 incidents of violent crime and property crime reported in the first three months of 2013. That’s down 24 percent from the same period a year ago and the lowest total number dating back to 2004.
“They are down,” said Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston. “I’m optimistic we are experiencing some benefits of having the dedicated property crime detective in place and having the ability to dedicate time and piece property crimes together.”
Two exceptions to the 2013 trend are in the categories of rape and auto theft. There have been two rapes reported in 2013 compared to zero in the first quarter of last year, and 17 auto thefts this year compared to 15 during the same timeframe last year.
The good news, however, is that reports of homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and arson are down from a year ago.
Edmiston said the drop in crimes reported could also be attributed to changes in the way the department reports its crime numbers to the state.
“I am sure, in the past, we have over reported in certain categories,” he said. In the past, for example, Edmiston said if the sheriff’s department took a report of a stolen vehicle and HPD officers located the vehicle with passengers inside, HPD would charge them with unlawful use of a motor vehicle, as would the sheriff’s department.
“So you have one stolen vehicle being counted twice by both agencies,” Edmiston said. “We are educating our people in a matter like this to use a different Oregon Revised Statute.” In other words, the HPD would report it in their system as possession of a stolen vehicle.
“Which is the same level as UUMV, but does not get tabulated as a stolen vehicle on our end per crime reporting,” he said.
The biggest drops in reported crimes for 2013 are in the categories of aggravated assault and burglary. In the first three months of the year, there have been two aggravated assaults compared to six a year ago, and 16 burglaries compared to 41 last year.