Each year we publish our annual crime and traffic report on our website, with a comparison of the numbers over a 5 year period to help put it in context. We also include brief summaries for some of the noteworthy items listed in the report, to help give the numbers some meaning. While we can’t tell you EXACTLY why some numbers are up and others are down (the criminals rarely tell us why they did or didn’t commit the crime!), we do our best to analyse the data and compare it to relevant changes or observations from within the department.
Brace yourself!– we’re about to throw a lot of numbers at you, but the goal is to help paint a complete picture that goes beyond a headline. It might be helpful to have the crime report next to you as you read through this.
To say that crime is on the rise in Grand Junction is technically true. Of all the reported crime for 2014 there were 10,043 incidents, compared to 9,995 in 2013 (a total of 48 incidents spread out over the entire year). However, the 2014 total is lower than in both 2011 and 2012 by approximately 700 incidents each of those years. In fact, the five year average for crime is Grand Junction is 10,224 incidents per year, meaning we were 181 incidents below the 5 year average in 2014.
Where did we see increases in crime? Rape numbers went from 48 reported incidents in 2013 to 67 in 2014. Of those 67 reported incidents, more than 85% of the reports noted that the victim and suspect knew each other. Part of that increase may be due in part to a push last year by officers to reach out to high school and college students to educate them about preventing sexual assault and how to report it if someone is a victim of sexual assault. We blogged about that program several times last year. By the way, the five year average for rape incidents is 57 reports a year, 10 fewer than what we saw in 2014.
DUI incidents also went up last year, with 472 incidents in 2014 compared to 361 in 2013. The five year average is 455. DUI incidents primarily involve proactive, officer initiated operations. In 2014 we were able to fill multiple vacancies allowing us to provide more officers on the streets to address drunken drivers and other crime problems.
Kidnapping incidents also went up in 2014. We had 18 incidents, compared to a 5 year average of 12. We feel it’s important to educate our community that kidnappings reported to the GJPD are generally domestic violence (illegally moving a person from one location to another) or family related, including parental kidnappings. In 2014 only one reported kidnapping was a stranger attempting to abduct a victim. The victim was able to escape.
So, what types of crimes went down in 2014? Quite a few actually, including robbery, burglary, auto theft, theft from auto and car break-ins, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, harassment/stalking, fraud/forgery, and vandalism. Property related crimes are at a 5 year low, and our homicide rate is right at the 5 year average.
The real story is that crime tends to go up and down over the years, and there’s not one single factor that we could point to and say, “that’s the reason why!” Just know that we will continue working hard for this community to make sure we are meeting our mission:
To enforce the law, safeguard our community,
and enhance its quality of life through the
prevention, investigation, and reduction of crime.