Reported crime in Pine Bluff wrapped up 2017 the way it began, with numbers lower than for the year before.
While the city did see 28 murders reported, the most in recent memory and 18 more than in 2016, overall crime was down 9.8 percent for the year, compared to 2016. There is no succinct answer as to why the number of killings increased so dramatically, police said.
According to statistics compiled by the Pine Bluff Police Department and reported to the National Crime Information Center and others, there were 4,696 reported crimes in 2017. That number was 510 fewer than for 2016 when 5,206 crimes were reported.
The downward trend held for the first three months of 2017 before a slight uptick in April, then trended down again for six straight months. A 2.8 percent increase recorded in November was the only other black mark on the year, but December’s numbers declined again by 20.53 percent compared to December 2016.
Assistant Chief of Police Kelvin Sergeant said one of the things that made a difference in the December numbers was the decrease in reported robberies compared to the previous year.
“Traditionally in December we get a lot of robberies, but with the Violent Crime Task Force out there and with holiday patrol, we had a lot more officers on the street,” he said.
Last month, there were eight robberies reported, seven fewer than in December 2016.
Looking at other crimes against persons in December, there were seven rapes or attempted rapes reported, four more than for the same month in 2016. There were three more aggravated assaults (36) than in December 2016 and 30 fewer simple assaults (98) than in December 2016 (128).
Commercial burglaries stayed the same in both 2016 and 2017 with 14 reported each month. For the year, there were 135 commercial burglaries reported compared to 157 in 2016, a decrease of 22. Residential burglaries also showed a decline for both the month of December and for the year. There were 51 residential burglaries reported in December compared to 84 in December 2016. For the year, 672 residential burglars were reported compared to 918 during 2016, a decline of 246.
“We had some good decreases in December overall,” Sergeant said.
Also down were reported thefts, dropping from 122 in December 2016 to 107 last month. Reported auto thefts were cut in half, going from 20 in December 2016 to 10 last month.