City’s January-June Offense Total Remains Below 100 for 4th Consecutive Year
Crime in Sulphur Springs was up in five of the seven major offense categories during the first half of 2020. Overall, 93 offenses were recorded by Sulphur Springs Police Department during the first half of 2020, the same as in 2018, but is still 26 more crimes recorded in the first half of 2020 than during the first 6 months of 2019, when the 20-year record low was set at 67 offenses.
This year is also one of only 6 years since 2000 in which the overall number of offenses reported in the 7 major crime reporting categories was less than 100 during the first 6 months of the year. In fact, in only 3 other years since 2000 were fewer cases reported from Jan. 1-June 30: the record low of 67 offenses reported in 2019, 72 offenses in 2017 and 81 offenses in 2012. In 2011, only 95 offenses were recorded by SSPD.
The city crime total for Jan. 1-June 30, 2020 was also only a little over half the record high of 181 offenses recorded from Jan. 1-June 30 in 2004 in Sulphur Springs, according to SSPD reports.
Violent Crimes Against People
Crime was unchanged in two of the four offense categories for violent crimes against people but rose in the other two categories during the first 6 months of 2020 in Sulphur Springs, according to SSPD reports.
Four sexual assaults were reported during the first half of 2020, the same as in 2019 and 2003. In only three years – 2002, 2011 and 2012 – were no sexual assaults recorded during the first half of the year by SSPD. This year’s tally is still only one-third the record of 12 sexual assault recorded from Jan. 1 to June 30 of 2013.
For the third straight year, three robberies were reported from Jan. 1 to June 30 in Sulphur Spring. Three additional years, 2001, 2004 and 2007, had three robberies by June 30 as well. The most robberies reported during the first half of the year was set at seven in 2000. In the 20 years since, five robberies each were recorded in 2008 and 2010. In only 2014 were no robberies reported in the first 6 months of the year in Sulphur Springs.
Twelve aggravated assaults were reported in 2020, the same as in 2003, 2004 and 2007. The fewest number of “assaults other than simple” reported from Jan. 1 through June 30 since 2000 was four in 2013. In only seven of the last 21 years have the total in this category been a single digit: the record low of four aggravated assaults in 2013, five in 2018, 6 in 2009 and 2016, seven in 2014, and nine in 2017 and 2019. The most aggravated assaults recorded during the first 6 months of the year was set at 20 cases in 2000 and repeated in 2001.
SSPD made reports of three homicides, a new record January-July high for Sulphur Springs.
According to Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jason Ricketson, the 2020 homicide cases include one murder and two manslaughter cases. In the murder case, a 30-year-old was accused of the stabbing death of a 25-year-old on April 18 on College Street. The two other homicide cases stem from an early morning crash on Interstate 30 May 24, in which two elementary aged boys died; warrants were issued for the arrest of SUV driver on two counts of manslaughter in connection with the wreck,
2020 is only the sixth time since 2000 that any homicides or murders have been recored during the first 6 months of the year in Sulphur Springs, two in 2003 and one each in 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2018.
Crime also rose in all three of the offense categories involving property crimes, according to data provided by SSPD.
The largest increase overall was in the “thefts over $200” category. A dozen more thefts were recorded by SSPD in 2020 than the 32 thefts recorded during the first part of 2019, tying 2012 for least theft reports since 2000. The 44 thefts during the first half of 2020 is only a little more than half the record high of 86 thefts reported in 2006. This category includes theft at retail businesses and thefts of items during vehicle burglaries, according to Ricketson.
Six more vehicles were stolen from Jan. 1 through June 30 of 2020 than the 13 reported during the same time frame in 2019. That’s the most vehicle thefts recorded by SSPD in the first half of the year since the record high was set at 25 vehicles in 2001, and repeated in 2003. Since 2004, less than 20 vehicle thefts have been reported during the first 6 months of the year.
Vehicle burglaries and subsequent thefts, Ricketson noted, are often the most preventable offenses, avoided by locking vehicles and removing keys and valuables from inside of them, but often hardest to catch. SSPD was fortunate over the last year to catch people in the act of vehicle burglaries and thefts, and were able to break up more than one burglary and vehicle theft ring, the chief reported.
Eight total burglaries were also reported to SSPD during the first half of 2020, two more than in 2019, when the record low was set. In fact, 2019 and 2020 are the only years since 2000 in which fewer than a dozen burglaries were reported during the first six months of the year. The most burglaries reported from Jan. 1 to June 30 since 2000 was 70 burglaries in 2004, the first year in which SSPD started tracking home and building burglaries separately.
During the first half of 2020, SSPD logged four burglaries, only one more than in 2019. This is the only the fifth year in which less than 10 residential burglaries were recorded from Jan. 1 to June 30 in Sulphur Springs. The four home burglaries during that period this year is only about 1/12th of the record high of 47 home burglaries during the first half of 2004. For the last 20 years, there have been fewer than 30 home burglaries, and fewer than 20 for 7 years.
There was also one more building burglary in 2020 than the three recorded during the first 6 months of 2019. This category peaked at 23 cases in 2004. The most building burglaries recorded from Jan. 1 to June 1 in any year since 2004 was 16 in 2006; in the remaining years 12 or fewer building burglaries were reported. In fact, single digit totals were recorded in seven of the 17 years SSPD has been tracking building and home burglaries separately:
Ricketson attributed the decline in burglary cases and lower overall crime totals over the last several years to the many proactive officers in the police department.