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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Springfield Police Department’s 2019 crime reporting through the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) has been completed. The year-end data shows an overall increase for Part 1 crime in Springfield of 12% compared to 2018. Violent crime (homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) increased by 16% and reported property crimes (stolen vehicles, burglary, larceny/ theft) increased by 11% in 2019.
Although crimes against persons increased overall, the number of homicides in Springfield dropped significantly in 2019, from 16 to 12, a 25% decrease from 2018.
Aggravated assaults increased by nearly 20% in 2019, resulting in 311 more reports than last year. Continued analysis reveals that gun violence played a large role in the increase, especially reported incidents that involved multiple potential victims (i.e. shots fired into a house).
“Increasing gun violence is not a problem unique to Springfield”, said Police Chief Paul Williams, “but is a significant public safety issue across the state, as was noted during the recent discussions that Mayors and Police Chiefs have had with Governor Parson.”
There was an increase in robberies overall as a result of a significant increase in individual victims (112) outpacing a decrease in commercial robberies (87). There was also an increase in reported sexual assaults (rape) of 7%. (Note. Further analysis of rape reports is still being compiled.)
As for property crimes, the most significant change was in stolen vehicles, which increased by nearly 15%, on the heels of a 25% reduction in 2018, with 214 more vehicles stolen in 2019 compared to 2018.
There was a 12.5% increase in theft reported, driven by large increase of thefts from vehicles (+485) or buildings (+740). Burglaries increased by almost 5%; even though there were 38 less businesses burglarized in 2019, 131 more residential properties were victimized compared to 2018.
“It’s disappointing to see the gains we made in reducing theft in our community over the last four to five years make such a dramatic reversal. Reducing property crime results from community wide partnerships and the combined efforts of police officers and citizens working together to prevent crime. Citizens who are active in neighborhood watch and take steps to secure their vehicles, and homes, by locking doors, removing their keys, and keeping property out of sight, are instrumental in these efforts,” said Chief Williams.
Now that year-end statistics are being reported voluntarily to the FBI-UCR by law enforcement those agencies across the country, “rankings” will undoubtedly surface on the Internet. According to the FBI, UCR data is only useful for comparing a city to itself, because there are many factors that cause the nature and type of crime to vary from place to place. The FBI outlines the pitfalls to ranking cities in an online document explaining the proper use of UCR data. The FBI’s document includes the following:
UCR data are sometimes used to compile rankings of individual jurisdictions and institutions of higher learning. These incomplete analyses have often created misleading perceptions, which adversely affect geographic entities and their residents. For this reason, the FBI has a long-standing policy against ranking participating law enforcement agencies on the basis of crime data alone. Despite repeated warnings against these practices, some data users continue to challenge and misunderstand this position.
“Unfortunately, there are third-party websites that supply ‘crime information’ and use a proprietary process to compare or rank cities -- none of which is verifiable or accurate,” said Chief Williams. “The SPD does not provide data to any of them, and the data used is most often a year or two old.”
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Media Contact: Jasmine Bailey, Public Affairs Officer417-864-1786[email protected]Release authorized by Chief Paul Williams