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Sipes: Violent crime up in Jacksonville in 2012

Violent crimes in Jacksonville were up in 2012, according to City Police Chief Gary Sipes.

Sipes’ report was given recently to the members of the Jacksonville City Council.

“There were 221 violent crimes reported in 2012, as compared to 198 in 2011,” according to Sipes.

Violent crimes are classified as homicide, rape/sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault.

“Of the violent crimes reported in 2012, 44 percent of these cases were cleared, compared to 65.6 percent cleared in 2011,” according to the report. “There were two homicides; this includes Capt. Jones, during 2012, both were cleared by arrest.”

In 2012, there were 4,500 arrests of individuals for various crimes as compared to 3,996 arrests in 2011.

The Narcotics Unit in 2012 seized eight guns, eleven vehicles and $63,952 in cash.

“The Jacksonville detective attached to the DEA Task Force deposited a total of $43,298.61 into our equitable sharing account,” Sipes said.

Jacksonville police officers received an overall total of 7,293.75 training hours, 5,057.50 being external training with 2,236.25 being internal training.

The department processed 4,706 prisoners through the detention facility and had 2,840 inmates service in the trustee program.

Sipes reported to the council there were 56 curfew violations issued in 2012 compared to 133 in 2011, which represents a 58 percent decrease. Of the violations, 32 took place in the daytime with 24 classified as nighttime violations.

“This can be attributed to the zero tolerance by patrol and our SRO’s (School Resource Officers) to keep our youth in school to cut down on the amount of daytime burglaries,” Sipes said.

The police department dedicated almost 3,000 man-hours to courtroom security compared to about 1,700 in 2011.

“Three officers worked an average of 57 hours a week, 19 hours per officer keeping the Jacksonville District Court proceeding safely,” states the report. “

The department also received several grants totaling $280,150.77. The funds helped the department pay three officers obtained with the C.O.P.S. grant, purchase equipment for the officers and pay overtime for seatbelt and DWI task forces.

Items bought with the grants included:

— Seven new ballistic vests for officers.

— The Step Grant, which provided 366.75 hours for DWI enforcement. A total of 537.25 hours were paid for through the grant for seat belt enforcement.

— SACOP Grant, which is a grant that will provide display radar that will perform activities at the high school to raise awareness of seat belt and speed safety. The units will be used in a series of meetings between departments, the Arkansas Chief of Police Association and the International Chiefs of Police Association.

The department also was involved in several worthwhile community programs and projects in 2012, including:

The Take Me Home Program, which added four more individuals to the program, which brings that program’s total to 28 participants.

The department hosted two Citizens Police Academies.

The Jacksonville Citizens Police Academy participated in department activities in several ways, including helping with food and support for fellow firefighters and the family of Capt. Jones after he was struck and killed while assisting Officer Dimatteo on Highway 161.

The Association also held a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for officers and dispatchers who had to work on those holidays. They also helped with Citizens Police Academy graduations.

In 2012, CPAAA volunteer hours totaled 728.75.

Sipes also pointed out other 2012 highlights, including:

Three of the department’s cadets successfully completed the exam to become police officers and two had already completed training while one currently is in his second week of training.

“This just illustrates the value of the program of hiring young individuals and training them prior to becoming a police officer,” Sipes said.

The Special Operation Unit in 2012 had a total of 459 arrests, with 373 being misdemeanors and 86 felonies. In 2011, there were 294 arrests, with 208 being misdemeanors and 86 felonies.

“These increases resulted in a reduced number of calls to Willow Bend, Cross Keys and Plummer Street Apartments,” Sipes said. “It also deterred loitering and fights at Galloway Park.”

The Patrol Division responded and worked 506 traffic accidents that took place on the roadways. “This is a 17 percent decrease from previous years as we worked 622 in 2011,” Sipes said. “There were no fatality accidents in 2012 which continues a steady decline since 2010. This can be attributed to the seat belt and DWI task forces because of the visibility of patrol units throughout the city, causing a deterrent.”

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