Police chief: 2010 ‘status quo’ year

MCT illustration

Kevin Wilson

The Clovis Police Department released its annual report, a catalog of 2010 that Chief Steve Sanders said was a “status quo” report.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job in addressing some issues with our property and persons crime.”

Areas that are up — a 1 percent increase in calls for service, and a 10 percent increase in crime reports — Sanders and local leaders tie to a higher population.

Mayor Gayla Brumfield said she was pleased with the numbers, and felt they are a result of the department having fewer vacancies than in years past.

“To me, a lot of the segments went down,” Brumfield said. “We had several drops. We’ve just about got all of the slots filled, and it’s visible on the streets.”

There were 30,046 calls for service, up from 29,791 in 2009, and 9,202 offense reports, up from 7,346 in 2009.

Among the notable statistics:

• Both aggravated assault and simple assault reports went down by double-digit percentages.

“I don’t know if there’s any one particular thing we’ve done that’s made an impact,” Sanders said. “I think it’s following a national trend, to be honest. I don’t have a clue why that would be the case.”

Aggravated assault went from 220 reports to 184 in 2010, a 16 percent drop. Simple assault reports went from 649 to 585, a 10 percent drop.

• The city had two homicides in 2010, the same number as 2009. Since the city had 10 homicides in 2004, the following six years saw 14 homicides, with either two or three each year.

“That’s two too many,” Brumfield said, “but we are heading in the right direction.”

• The city had a 19 percent increase in crash reports, from 1,480 in 2009 to 1,825 in 2010. The city also saw an approximate 19 percent jump from 2008, when it had 1,240 crash reports.

Sanders said a population upswing from Cannon Air Force Base is more of a factor than other possibilities (such as texting while driving).

“We’ve grown in size, and we have more cars on the road than in years past,” Sanders said. “When you put more cars on our arterials, particularly during peak times, that’s going to result in more crashes.”

• Reports of rape and criminal sexual penetration were up from 30 in 2009 to 37 in 2010, a 19 percent jump. But it’s down 7.5 percent from the 40 reports from 2008.

Sanders said the changes could be attributable to standard fluctuation. Year in and year out, Sanders said, the reports almost without exception involve people who were acquaintances.

• The amount of motor vehicle thefts went up 5 percent, from 74 to 78. But that’s still far less than the 138 reports in 2008.

• Burglary is down 4 percent, from 775 to 746.

“We’ve identified some of these folks that have been in burglaries before,” Sanders said. “We took them off the street for a while. That causes our burglaries to go down. In several of these cases, we get phone calls from neighbors.”

Also notable, Sanders said, is the department’s ability to return stolen merchandise.

Items that show up in many burglary reports are video game systems. That’s no different from previous years, but Sanders said it’s getting easier to track down owners because a quick boot of the system often reveals the owner, or an online gaming account held by the owner.

• Vandalism reports are down 13 percent, from 1,668 to 1,457. Sanders said education programs that targeted gangs and bullying helped.

“This last year, we really targeted the junior highs,” Sanders said. “We’ve gone after some taggers, and identified some of those folks to clean up the messes. We’ve still got a problem.”