For the sixth straight month and ninth out of 10 months, reported crime in Pine Bluff was down compared to a year ago. At the monthly Coffee with the Chiefs, sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Tuesday, Assistant Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said there were 395 crimes reported in October compared to 429 in October 2016, a decrease of 7.93 percent.


“I hate to hear negative things about crime in Pine Bluff,” Sergeant said. “Yes we have issues, but the thing is, we are reducing crime.”


For the year, there have been 1,210 fewer crimes reported this year than there were for the same period in 2016 — a 23.24 percent reduction, Sergeant said. Looking at individual numbers, there were 51 residential burglaries in October compared to 73 in October 2016, while commercial burglaries increased from 13 a year ago to 17 last month. For the year, 568 residential burglaries have been reported, a 38.13 percent decease from the 918 reported for the same period in 2016.


A total of 103 commercial burglaries have been reported for the first 10 months of the year, 54 less than for the same period in 2016 or a 34.39 percent decrease.


Reported thefts dropped from 123 to 119, while motor vehicle thefts increased slightly from 22 to 24. Motor vehicle thefts are the only Crimes Against Property category that have increased this year, with 17 more (276) than were reported last year (259).


Sergeant said the most sizable increase in this year’s numbers are homicides — a crime that he called the department’s “measuring stick.”


Through the first 10 months of this year, 21 homicides have been reported compared to 10 for the entire year in 2016.


“Most of those (homicides this year) were not innocent victims, but they were individuals involved in criminal activity, and that’s something we’re trying to address with our Violent Crime Task Force,” Sergeant said.


Also in the category of crimes against persons, reported rapes and attempted rapes dropped from seven in October 2016 to four last month, while reported robberies increased from nine to 15. Even with that increase, there have been 124 reported robberies this year, 10 less than for the same period in 2016 or a 7.46 percent decrease.


Aggravated assaults declined 43 to 38 and simple assaults went down from 138 to 126.