Crime In Hopkins County Lowest In At Least 19 Years, Clearance Rate 97.87 Percent

New Record Lows Set For Burglary, Theft Categories; No Murders, Robberies Recorded In County In First Half Of 2019

Crime in Hopkins County continued to decline during the first half of 2019, with only 47 crimes recorded by Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office from Jan. 1-June 30 in the eight major categories – a new record low, according to HCSO data.

That’s 19 less than in 2018, when the HCSO previous 19-year record low was set at 66 crimes overall, and is less than a quarter of the record high of 214, set in 2001. The first half of 2019 also marks the fourth consecutive year crime has dipped during the first 6 months of the year in Hopkins County, dropping from 102 in 2015 to 76 in 2006, then 71 in 2017 and 66 in 2018. In fact, crime has risen above 100 in only two of the last 10 years, 105 in 2011 and 102 in 2015.

Also notable is the fact that the clearance rate, the number of crimes cleared by arrest or exception compared to the number of cases recorded, has only fallen below 70 percent once since 2006, dripping to 68.82 percent in 2010. The clearance rate for the county has remained above 80 percent since 2012, and above 90 percent for four consecutive years. As of June 30, 2019, the clearance rate for posted for the county was 97.87 percent, according to the HCSO data.

Hopkins County Sheriff Lewis Tatum attributes the lowered crime and high clearance rates in the county to the proactive work of local officers.

“We are blessed to have officers who are out working so hard. In the last 6 months, we had 47 offenses against people reported and a 97.87 percent clearance rate. Over the years, when other jurisdictions’ crime rate rose along with the population, Hopkins County and Sulphur Springs rates declined. That’s due to our officers and criminal investigations division,” said Hopkins County Sheriff Lewis Tatum.

During the first six months of 2019, crime declined in five of the eight categories, was unchanged in two categories and rose in only one category. And, new record lows were either set or tied in four categories as well.

There were no robberies recorded at HCSO during the first half of 2019, marking the fifth year in which no robberies were recorded from Jan. 1-June 30. In fact, in only six of the last 19 years have any robberies been recorded during the first half of the year, with only one each in 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2014; and the record high set at two in 2011.

“Thank goodness the number for homicide was zero,” Tatum said.

That’s 200 percent lower than in 2018, when two murders were recorded by June 30, setting a new record high for the first half of the year. In fact, homicides have only been reported in four years since 2001, the first year the sheriff’s office began tracking and reporting crime statistics and clearance rates. Only one criminal homicide was reported in 2004, 2009 and 2011.

Unchanged was the number of simple assaults reported in 2019 compared to those of 2018; 15 simple assaults were reported in each year, just one shy of the record low of 14 simple assaults recorded in 2017. That’s still only about one-quarter of the record high of 58 simple assaults recorded in 2001.

Only nine larceny cases were counted during the first half of 2019, setting a new record low for the category. That’s four less than in 2018, when the previous record low for these types of theft cases was set at 13, and only about one-eighth of the record high of 70 larcenies recorded from Jan. 1- June 30, 2004.

A new record low of nine burglaries was also set in 2019. That’s about half as many as in the first half of 2018, when 17 were recorded, and four less than in 2017, when 12 burglaries were recorded during the first half of the year. The 19-year record high of 68 burglaries was recorded in 2001.

Only one forcible rape, filed as a sexual assault case, was recorded during the first six months of 2019, the same as in six other years. That’s a significant decline from 2018, which tied the record high of six rapes recorded in 2006 and repeated in 2008 and 2011. In only four of the last 19 years – 2002, 2005, 2014 and 2015 – were no rapes cases recorded in the county during the first half of the year.

The motor vehicle theft category was nearly half of 2018’s figure, dropping from seven in 2018 to four this year. That’s still only a quarter of the record high of 16 vehicle thefts recorded from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2008. In only one year, 2002, were no vehicle thefts recorded in the first six months of the year.

Nine aggravated assaults, that is assaults using weapons or resulting in serious injury, were reported during the first half of 2019. That’s more than twice as many aggravated assaults than in 2018, which tied the four of 2014 for second fewest number of aggravated assaults during the first six months of the year. The least number was one aggravated assault reported in 2010. The most aggravated assaults recorded in Hopkins County from Jan. 1 to June 30 was set at 30 in 2008.

Tatum acknowledged that the crime and clearance rates focus only on crimes against people and their property; these statistics do not encompass all of the cases worked by county officers.

For instance, drug and alcohol offenses, which are reflected in the daily arrest reports and jail counts, are not included in these crime statistics. In some cases, however, the controlled substance cases also involve offenses against people and property too, the sheriff noted.

“Officers are going out making on-site arrests, a lot for methamphetamine and drug usage,” Tatum said. “All officers in the county and city are very proactive, trying to stop the influx of meth or ice and other controlled substances.”

Officers have made 158 self-initiated arrests, not directly associated with the clearance rate or crimes against people, this year, the sheriff noted.

“That shows how proactive all of our officers are,” Tatum added.

Author: Faith Huffman

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