Annual report: Crime increased in 2008

Clovis police on Tuesday released its annual report. Collecting information from 2008, the report indicates crime increased in the city compared to last year.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Crime increased in Clovis in 2008 with property crimes leading the rise according to the police department’s annual crime report, released Tuesday.

Violent crimes — murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault — rose 3.4 percent, while property crimes — burglary, theft and larceny, motor vehicle theft and vandalism — jumped 9.3 percent.

Some of those increases can be pinned to specific crime rings or sprees, said Police Chief Steve Sanders.

When crime numbers are in the single, double or even triple digits, a few added incidents in a year can have great impact on percentages, he said.

He said a string of home invasions last summer contributed to a jump in robbery and burglary numbers.

“These small numbers create great percentages of change,” Sanders said.

“I think the thing that’s most important to look at is the calls for service were obviously up, meaning we do a little bit more work because we’re responding to more requests for the citizens.”

Sanders said the numbers tell him the department needs to do more outreach and education in the community to try and prevent crimes and increase community awareness.

“Education, crime prevention and enforcement are the three things we have to work on,” he said.

Neighborhood watch groups and community involvement are vital, he said, to curbing crime.

“I don’t have cops to sit on every street corner and watch every house. It takes a community looking out, to watch out for each other,” he said.

The department has 54 officers. Some 30 are on patrol duty and spend their shifts in the community.

Sanders said officers are performing late night warrant services and other activities to try and cut into crime. There are future plans for neighborhood and community programs in addition to those already implemented.

Sanders said the department is already seeing good results and a drop in the crime numbers as they near the half-way-point this year.

Sanders, who became chief in October, said, “I’m looking forward as the chief of police to see what the numbers will look like for 2009.