With 20 fewer calls during May of this year compared to May 2018, reported crime in Pine Bluff dropped almost five percent, according to police.

During a meeting of the City Council's Public Safety Committee, Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said there were 405 calls for service last month compared to 425 in May 2018 for a 4.71 percent decline.

While categories of crimes against persons, rape and attempted rape, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault and murder showed declines or remained the same, property crimes, commercial burglary, residential burglary, theft and motor vehicle thefts increased in 2019 compared to 2018.

Looking at specific crimes, there were three rapes or attempted rapes reported in May, two fewer than the number reported in May 2018. Eight robberies were reported last month compared to 12 in May 2018.

Aggravated assaults dropped from 52 in May 2018 to 38 last month while simple assaults dropped from 161 in May 2018 to 104 last month. Two murders were reported in May 2018, the same number that were reported last month.

Looking at property related crimes, there were 22 reported commercial burglaries last month compared to 13 in May 2018. Residential burglaries increased from 33 in May 2018 to 49 last month. A total of 150 thefts were reported last month, 29 more than in May 2018. Also, motor vehicle thefts went up slightly, from 26 in May 2018 to 29 last month.

On another subject, Sergeant told members of the Public Safety Committee that the department's annual Pay Camp (Police and Youth) is in its third week and this year there are 218 campers. He said one of the goals for the department this year is to see that each of those campers gets a new pair of Nike shoes when the camp ends in July, and the department will be trying to generate funds through donations to make that happen. Sergeant also said the department plans to contact Nike to see if a discount might be available on the purchase price because of the volume.

With the 4th of July coming up, Sergeant also briefed the committee on how the department will handle fireworks calls this year. He said that there are usually so many calls that officers can not respond to each of them specifically so dispatchers will put out “general broadcasts” of fireworks in an area and officers will check that area when they are in it.