An increase of eight reported crimes in July compared to July 2018 resulted in an increase of 1.85 percent in total crimes last month, according to the monthly statistics from the Police Department.


At a meeting of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee Wednesday, Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said there were a total of 440 reported crimes in July, compared to July 2018 when there were 432 crimes reported. By way of comparison, 415 crimes were reported in July 2017.


“The big number was thefts,” Sergeant said. “We’re going to take a look at where the bulk of the incidents came from and if there is something we can do from a law enforcement standpoint we’re going to do it.”


There were a total of 184 thefts reported last month compared to 140 in July 2018 and 122 in July 2017.


Committee Chairman Win Trafford asked Sergeant to be explain the category and Sergeant responded by saying it is a “very broad one. It can be anything from thefts from a vehicle to a shoplifting.”


Looking at other crimes against property, 21 commercial burglaries were reported last month, an increase of two over the 19 reported in July 2018 and two and-a-half times the eight that were reported in July 2017.


Residential burglaries declined from 62 in July 2018 to 42 last month, a drop of 20. In July 2017, there were 56 residential burglaries reported.


Reported motor vehicle thefts, which had a high of 46 in July 2017 and less than half that with 20 in July 2018 sh0wed a slight increase, going from that 20 last year to 24 last month.


Every classification in the crimes against persons category with the exception of aggravated assaults declined last month and reported aggravated assaults showed only a small increase, jumping from 37 in July 2018 to 40 last month. In July 2017 there were 38 aggravated assaults reported.


Simple assaults, which had increased from 122 in July 2017 to 127 in July 2018 dropped to 116 last month. Reported robberies dropped from 18 in July 2018 to seven last month, half the number reported in July 2017.


Looking at rapes and attempted rapes, four were reported last month compared to seven in July 2018 and six in July 2017.


Two murders were reported in July, the same number as in July 2018 and one less than the three that were reported in July 2017.


On another subject, Sergeant told the committee that representatives from his department met recently with other law enforcement agencies and are working on a joint effort which will be aimed at dealing with gun violence, gangs and drugs and said a press release is currently being circulated among the agencies to get their input before it is released to the public.


He said the effort will be “pretty big” and told the committee he thought they and the citizens of Pine Bluff will “appreciate it.”


Sergeant also told the committee that the department is asking residents and businesses to invest in security camera systems, explaining that valuable evidence has been obtained in a number of instances thanks to home security video systems.