Stats show city's crime rate continues to drop

Columbus crime statistics are continuing a drop that started when the city began hiring 100 new police officers with Local Option Sales Tax funds, according to figures released Monday.

Police Chief Ricky Boren credits the increase in police working the streets with the drop in seven so-called “Part One crimes” that are recorded in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. They are homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft.

“We still have a lot of work to do, and we work enforcement and prevention every day,” Boren said. “There is no doubt that the 2008 Local Option Sales Tax and the hiring of new police officers has helped our situation.”

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson agreed with Boren that the increased police presence has helped and also that there is no place for complacency.

She also acknowledged that the city has seen a deadly beginning of 2013, with five homicides in a little more than a month.

“Each year you seem to have spikes,” Tomlinson said. “An interesting this is to look at the Part One crime reports and note that indeed there are quarters that are worse than others, but in whole and on average, we are definitely headed in the right direction.”

Comparing numbers from 2007 through 2012, homicides are below the annual average for that span of 19 for the last two years, with 17 in the last two years. There were 23 in 2007 and 30 in 2008. That number dropped sharply to 13 in 2009 and 15 in 2010 and 17 each in the last two years.

The overall total of the seven crimes inched up 1.7 and 1.1 percent in 2007 and 2008, respectively, then began to slide down, dropping 8.8 percent in 2010, 7.3 percent in 2011 and 7.2 percent last year.

“When we step back to look at the big picture, I don’t want us to lose sight of the fact that one murder is one too many,” Tomlinson said. “And one crime is one too many, particularly when it happens to you or a neighbor, the closeness of that is something that’s just unacceptable.”