LIMA — According to the Lima Police Department’s annual report presented to Lima City Council during its Monday night meeting, total crime dropped by 10 percent when comparing 2016 and the recently released statistics covering 2017.
Lima Chief of Police Kevin Martin said the overall trend line for crime within the city has been trending down since 2008, and the latest numbers are a reflection of prioritizing resources and an increased focus on community policing.
While most major crime categories saw reductions, the single outlier in the 2017 report is sexual assault, which saw a 40 percent increase between 2016 and 2017, from 42 cases to 59 cases.
“The largest percentage of sexual assault was child molestation cases in the homestead,” Martin said. “Those are classified within the same category as abduction, rape. Despite that, overall crime is still down 10 percent.”
The largest reductions fall under the robbery and motor vehicle thefts, which both saw 31 percent reductions when comparing the two years. Martin said the police department has been using the strategy of putting more resources into higher crime neighborhoods, which over time, can help deter crime in those areas and, through regular traffic stops, help prevent violent gun crimes and use of illegal drugs.
Community policing has also been helpful, Martin said, when trying to find out what crimes may have happened.
“The community has to be willing to meet us halfway. We have an obligation to reach out to the community, but the community doesn’t have the obligation to reach back to us,” Martin said. “Our community has been absolutely responding, and that’s played a big part.”
The annual report also provides statistics for the most calls for service by location. The police department breaks up the city into six precincts, and the top three with the most calls for service are located closer to the center of Lima than the three comprising the city’s periphery.
When breaking up arrests and citations statistics by location, the third ward, or what would be considered downtown Lima and the neighborhoods north and west, is responsible for roughly a third of all arrests and citations within the city’s limits.
As for 2018, Martin said crime rates continue their downward trend so far. When comparing the first eight months of 2018 to the same time period in 2017, the number of crimes in 2018 have fallen by another 9.6 percent.
“I certainly hope that trend continues,” Martin said. “We are expecting to see again a significant reduction this year.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.