Columbus crime increases in 2013; still average over 10 years

tchitwood@ledger-enqurier.comJanuary 23, 2014 

The final Columbus crime statistics for 2013 are out, and they don’t look good compared to 2012.

But they don’t look bad on average.

The only major crimes that decreased from 2012 were aggravated assaults, down to 485 from 528 in 2012.

These crimes increased:

• Homicide: 23 in 2013; 17 the year before.

• Rape: 36 last year; 31 in 2012.

• Robbery: 481 last year; 423 in 2012.

• Burglary: 3,355 in 2013; 2,709 in 2012.

• Larceny: 7,965 in 2013; 7,681 the year before.

• Auto theft: 1,110 last year; 844 in 2012.

City crime statistics released Thursday listed only the 22 homicides reported to Columbus police, but the total comes to 23 with the death of Issac Kindred, a Muscogee County Jail inmate. The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, investigated that case, and charged cellmate Jeffrey McKinney with murder. Kindred’s was among three inmate deaths last year that Sheriff John Darr has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to probe.

Darr said the homicide has been reported to the Department of Justice, and he would check to see if the justice department would tell the FBI. Police Chief Ricky Boren said his department can’t report another agency’s case, and his investigators have no record of Kindred’s death. The chief said that though 2013’s homicides exceeded 2012’s, the total is about average for Columbus in the years since 2000. Homicides over those years ranged from a low of nine in 2001 to 30 in 2008. Years comparable to 2012 included 2000 (18), 2002 (18), 2003 (18), 2006 (16), and 2011 (17).

The years with homicide counts comparable to 2013’s include 2004 (25), 2005 (22) and 2007 (24).

The category of “Part I” crimes, which encompasses all major offenses, increased to 13,454 in 2013 from 12,233 in 2012. But compared to the past 10 years, that 2013 total indicates it again was more of an average year than an outlier.

Columbus had a comparable number of crimes in 2004: 13,425. From there those crimes gradually increased, peaking at 15,835 in 2009, then shifted into a decline: 14,447 in 2010; 13,383 in 2011; and then 12,233 in 2012.

Part I crimes since 2003, when Columbus had 13,815, average 15,664 a year.

Based on an annual police department summary, here are the trends by category from 2007 through 2011:

Homicide: 17 in 2011; 15 in 2010; 13 in 2009; 30 in 2008; 23 in 2007.

Rape: 34 in 2011; 37 in 2010; 49 in 2009; 67 in 2008; 62 in 2007.

Robbery: 407 in 2011; 469 in 2010; 566 in 2009; 638 in 2008; 593 in 2007.

Aggravated assault: 459 in 2011; 485 in 2010; 538 in 2009; 532 in 2008; 684 in 2007.

Burglary: 3,364 in 2011; 3,459 in 2010; 3,797 in 2009; 3,240 in 2008; 2,689 in 2007.

Auto theft: 1,069 in 2011; 1,010 in 2010; 1,534 in 2009; 1,622 in 2008; 1,810 in 2007.

Larceny: 7,835 in 2011; 8,750 in 2010; 9,109 in 2009; 9,301 in 2008; 9,317 in 2007.

After her State of the City address Tuesday, Tomlinson said she knew the 2013 crime stats would not compare favorably to 2012.

Referring to Police Chief Ricky Boren, she said: “I have no tolerance for crime, and the chief can tell you I blow his phone up about every single instance that we have, and yet I try to see what we are accomplishing and what we need to do better on.”

The long-range view shows most crime remains in decline, compared to other previous years, she said:

“We do have overall a down trend, like rape is tremendously down. It’s half of what it was. So we do have these things that we’re accomplishing, and yet we did have murders that spiked this year. … So we have to see what we do to reverse it.”

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