For the second straight month and fifth month out of six, reported crime in Pine Bluff dropped when compared to a year ago. According to the monthly report from the Pine Bluff Police Department, there were 365 crimes reported in June, 104 less than in June 2016, for a 22.17 percent decline.

Traditionally, residential burglaries show an increase in the summer when kids are not in school; however, last month, there were 52 such incidences reported, compared to 78 in June 2016.

“In the summer we tell our patrol division to focus on the residential areas and look for suspicious activity,” Assistant Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said. “I think that's one of the things that helped, and the Neighborhood Watch groups have been incredible calling us when they see something and being good neighbors.”

He said another factor that could be playing a part in the reduction is the number of activities that young people can participate in, such as the department's Police and Youth Camp, as well as a number of other entities who are conducting camps and the like.

“That gives a lot of these kids an opportunity to do productive things and keeps them off the streets,” Sergeant said.

So far this year, there have been 316 residential burglaries reported, which is 602 fewer than were reported in the first six months of 2016.

Sergeant said the Violent Crimes Task Force, which had been tasked with getting guns off the street and later will deal with reducing reported robberies, has now also been assigned to residential burglaries — an assignment they began about a week ago. While they have not produced significant results yet, Sergeant said he expects they will also play a part in trying to deter home burglaries over the next few weeks. Commercial burglaries in June increased from nine a year ago to 14 last month, while reported thefts dropped from 146 to 100; reported motor vehicle thefts jumped from 27 in June 2016 to 36 last month.

In terms of crime against persons, there were 14 robberies reported last month, four more than were reported in June 2016, while reported rapes or attempted rapes dropped from five in June 2016 to one last month. Both aggravated assaults and simple assaults showed drops last month, and Sergeant said the work of the Violent Crime Task Force may have played a part in that.

“They were moving some of the known bad guys out of areas and off the streets so they didn't have the opportunities to commit some of those assaults,” he said.

There were 114 simple assaults in June, compared to 149 a year ago, while aggravated assaults dropped from 41 to 32. There were two murders in June, half as many as in June 2016, but so far this year, there have been 15 inside the Pine Bluff city limits. That's five more than were reported all of last year.