It’s been a comparatively good year for crime rates in the Capital City, but the past month has eroded the trend, the Columbia Police Department announced Wednesday.
Overall crime is down by 14 percent compared with a year ago – most of the drop coming in property offenses, which affect more people than violent crime, figures released by Police Chief Skip Holbrook show. Property crime dipped by 16 percent year over year.
Violent crime dipped by 2 percent compared with the same 12 months a year ago, the figures show. But violent offenses have shot up by 24 percent in the past four weeks compared with the same month in 2014.
Four weeks of troubling crime statistics can indicate a pattern that officers must address, Holbrook said during the third meeting of his police commanders held to update residents on crime and to demonstrate transparency.
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Capt. Derrick Thornton, who supervises the city’s detectives, said arrests Tuesday of four of the city’s top five suspects involved in firearms offenses should slow the trend.
“We expect to see a decline in the future in violent crime,” Thornton said.
Overall crime in the past month increased 7 percent over the same period last year, Holbrook said.
Property offenses rose by 5 percent during that time, he told a small audience that attended the meeting at EdVenture Children’s Museum at Riverfront Park.
Citywide, the single most noteworthy increase in the past month compared with the same period last year has been in auto thefts, which jumped 55 percent to 96. Auto thieves also struck 20 percent more often in the year-to-year comparison, or 519 thefts compared with 433 during the same time in 2014.
The southern part of Columbia was hit with a 160 percent jump in aggravated assaults in the past month, but that was just eight more attacks than the same period last year, the data show. Many involved shootings, which South Region Commander, Capt. Chris Roberts, said were not random.
“In every one, the victim knew the suspects,” Roberts told the audience.
The raw data show 6,505 crimes overall by this time last year in Columbia and 5,573 during the same period this year. That’s a reduction of 932 crimes, the department’s data show.
Commanders of the city’s police regions discussed in broad terms Wednesday steps they are taking to combat crime.
Reach LeBlanc at (803) 771-8664.
Columbia crime snapshots
Overall crime is down for the past 12 months. But it jumped during the past four weeks, especially for violent offenses, when compared with the same four weeks of last year.
Total violent and property crime
5,573, down 14% from the same time last year
734, up 7% from the same monthlong period last year
677, down 2% from the same time last year
78, up 24% from the same monthlong period last year
4,896, down 16% from the same time last year
656, up 5% from the same monthlong period last year
VIOLENT CRIMES BY CATEGORY
11, up 22% from 9 the same time last year
2, up 100% from 1 the same monthlong period last year
Sexual assaults/attempted assaults
84, down 8% from the same time last year
9, down 10% from the same monthlong period last year
398, up 11% from the same time last year
41, up 32% from the same monthlong period last year
22, down 31% from the same time last year
7, up 250% from 2 the same monthlong period last year
PROPERTY CRIMES BY CATEGORY
519, up 20% from the same time last year
96, up 55% from the same monthlong period last year
1,100, down 8% from the same time last year
179, up 26% from the same monthlong period last year
2,557, down 25% from the same time last year
304, down 7% from the same monthlong period last year
SOURCE: Columbia Police Department