City Burglaries At 22-Year Record Low
Crime in Sulphur Springs in the seven major offense categories was higher in 2020 than in 2019, which was a year of record lows. The 188 offense reports, made by Sulphur Springs Police Department last year, places 2020 as the fourth lowest in 22 years. Only 171 offenses were reported in 2017, 168 offenses in 2018 and 162 offenses in 2019. The total number of crimes recorded by SSPD in 2020 was only about half the 22-year record high of 375 total offenses set in 1999, followed by 371 offenses in 2004.
Crime in Sulphur Springs rose in five of the seven major offense categories, declined to a new record low in one category and matched the total posted in 2019 in another category, according to data provided by SSPD.
Violent Crimes Against People
Three homicides were recorded in 2020, tying 2003 for the most murders reported in a single year in the city. However, in only nine of the last 22 years have there been any homicides, including two murders each in 2011, 2015 and 2018; and one each in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 201. There were no homicides from 1999-2001, 2004, 2006-2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 20016-17 and 2019.
In 2020, manslaughter was counted in the updated reporting system as a homicide. Two of the homicides 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 the SUV driver on two counts of manslaughter in connection with the wreck. The third homicide involved a 30-year-old was accused of the stabbing death of a 25-year-old on April 18 on College Street.
Nine sexual assaults were recorded in 2020, which is nearly double the five reported in 2019, and is just one offense shy of the record high set in 2015. The 22-year record low was set in 2012, a year in which no sexual assaults were recorded by SSPD.
Three more “assaults other than simple” or aggravated assaults were reported in 2020 than the 21 recorded in 2019. The 24 aggravated assaults reported in Sulphur Springs in 2020 was seven more than the record low of 167 set in 2013, but only about half the 22-year record high of 56 aggravated assaults set in 1999. In fact, there have only been three years since 1999 in which less than 20 aggravated assaults were recorded: 16 in 2013, 17 in 2016 and 18 in 2018.
Six robberies were reported in Sulphur Springs in 2020, the same as in 2004, 2015, 2016 and 2019. While still three times the record low of two robberies recorded in 2006 and repeated in 2011, the 2020 robbery total is still half the record high of 12 robberies in 2008, according to SSPD reports.
A new record low of 17 was set in the burglary category, eclipsing the prior record of 20 burglaries set in 2019. That’s 101 less than the record high set in 2002 and repeated in 2004. These include all burglaries of homes and buildings recorded by SSPD, where both home and building burglaries have also been tracked separately since 2004.
Eight home burglaries were reported in 2020 to SSPD, four fewer than the previous low set in 2019, but still only about 1/9th of the record 76 home burglaries set in 2004. This category did not fall below 30 until 2012, and didn’t drop below 20 until 2016, when 19 home burglaries were recorded in Sulphur Springs, but has remained below 20 percent ever since. 2020 was the first year the total of home burglaries was a single digit number.
Last year also matched 2013 with nine building burglaries, which was just shy of the record low of eight building burglaries set in 2019, but still only about 1/5th of the record 42 home burglaries set in 2004. This category has remained below 30 since 2012 and has remained below 20 since 2013.
More thefts over $200 and vehicle thefts were reported in 2020 than in 2019, marking the second year both categories have risen. Thefts include all thefts of items valued at $200 that are not included in the structural burglary categories, including shoplifting, money and vehicle burglaries.
Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jason Ricketson reported these to be two of the most preventable crimes. A majority of the vehicle thefts and vehicle burglary cases were due to vehicles being unlocked and keys left in them. Locking vehicles and taking and valuables and keys when exiting often serve as big deterrents to vehicle thefts and burglaries. Failing to do so can and often does result in these “crimes of opportunity,” according to the chief.
Overall, 36 vehicles were reported to Sulphur Springs Police as stolen in 2020, five more than in 2019 and 27 more than the record low of nine vehicle thefts. Last year was only the second time in 16 years that more than 30 vehicles have been reported stolen in the city, but 2020 still had 14 less vehicle thefts than the record 50 reported in 2001.
A total of 93 thefts over $200 were reported in 2020, 16 more than in 2019 and 18 more than the record low of 75 thefts set in 2011, but still 85 less than the record high of 178 vehicle thefts set in 2004 in Sulphur Springs.