Violent crime down

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 28, 2001

Messenger Intern

As the FBI’s national crime index is released, Pike County and Troy authorities are comparing local trends to the national statistics.

According to information released from the office of Police Chief Anthony Everage, a Troy citizen is more likely to be the victim of a property crime than a violent crime.

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"We have seen a definite increase in property crime this year," said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer for the Troy Police Department.

Burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft are offenses that fall under the category of property crime. Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault comprise violent crime.

That mirrors a national trend. According to the FBI’s 2001 Preliminary Report, property crime rose 0.8 percent. Overall, the nation’s crime index fell 0.3 percent during the first six months of 2001, when compared to January to June 2000 data. Forcible rape dropped 0.6 percent, and murder and robbery both dropped 6.4 percent.

The rise in property crime could be related to the rise in methamphetamine labs found in Troy, some authorities said.

"I’m no economist, so I can’t say if [the increase in property crime] is something a bad economy created," Scarborough said. "But the one thing I would attribute the rise to is individuals trying to provide some sort of income to support a habit.

"Individuals are creating funds through innocent people to support an addiction," he said.

Scarborough said authorities also have found a noticeable increase in clandestine labs, specifically methamphetamine labs.

According to the Department of Justice, methamphetamine is a powerfully-addictive stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system. The drug is made easily in clandestine laboratories with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients.

Although property crime has had the most dramatic increase, violent crime has risen, also.

Compared to Troy’s one homicide in 2000, the three homicides in 2001 make for a steep incline.

However, Scarbrough noted slight increases make big percentages when the numbers are small.

According to Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas, the countywide crime rate has not fluctuated much.

"Overall I think our crime has remained the same." Thomas said. "But, based on our jail population, it looks like we’ve seen an increase."

The county has seen a slight increase in violent crimes, whereas the property crime has remained steady, said Thomas.

Thomas has also seen an increase in drug related offenses, which he also attributes to the high demand for methamphetamine.

The procedure for recording domestic violence cases has changed and that change has resulted in a substantial increase in that category.

The report, collected by the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, is a year late because of the time it entails, according to Thomas.

According to the FBI’s 2001 Preliminary Report, the Nation’s Crime Index fell 0.3 percent during the first six months of 2001 when compared to January-June 2000 data.

The data also indicated the South’s crime index rose 0.8 percent.

In other regions, the crime rate fell 4.1 percent in the Northeast and 1.9 percent in the Midwest, and the West recorded an increase of 1.6 percent.