Crime in city declined in 2018

Published 3:33 pm Saturday, January 12, 2019

Overall, crime in Franklin has gone down, most notably in the number of firearms incidents and drug offenses.

On Friday morning, spokesman Capt. Tim Whitt shared the results of the agency’s annual tally of crime statistics. The numbers referenced below came from the office’s Records Management System, he said.

In 2017, there were 75 firearms incidents; last year only 55. The spokesman said, “The level and magnitude of gun violence had become a public safety emergency last year. Then-police chief Phil Hardison made tackling gun violence the priority, and drug offenses become secondary. This proved to be successful. There was a significant decrease [in gun-related crimes] after arrests.”

He also noted that 30 firearms were either seized or recovered in 2018.

As for the drug-related crimes, there were 91 in 2017, but down to 32 incidents last year.

In the category of especially violent crimes — murder, abduction, rape and other forcible sex offense, robbery — last year’s figures were mostly either down or the same.

With the notable exception of larcenies, other crimes such as burglaries (From 57 to 36) or assaults (From 184 to 177) were down.

In 2017, there were 259 reported larcenies, but that went up to 278 last year.

“Crimes like robbery and larceny are crimes of opportunity, especially larceny,” said Whitt. “Criminals are opportunistic. They’re not going to work very hard.”

He advised that people need to safeguard themselves and their property by being mindful of the potential for crime. Thefts of or from vehicles are often because these were left unlocked.

“You have to make yourself a hard target to crime. Don’t make yourself vulnerable,” continued Whitt. “Obviously, there’s no guarantee, but it negates possibilities.”

Another small but still notable increase was in the number of incidents involving mental health patients. Last year there were 62 incidents.

While this is only six more than the 56 in 2017, such encounters still have the potential to be unpredictable to both patients and police.

“Interaction with persons in mental health crisis continues to be one of the most dangerous calls for service our officers respond to,” Whitt stated in his accompanying report. “Patients encountered have at times been homicidal, suicidal, in possession of weapons at the time officers have encountered them and, in some instances, resisted detention with force. Officers have been assaulted by some patients.

“The time necessary to find placement of persons deemed in need of treatment remains excessive, sometimes taking as long as eight hours in police custody before a transport location is designated.”

He continued, “Department personnel have reached out to and are working with Del. Emily Brewer (R-64) in an effort to address the broken mental health system in the Commonwealth. Brewer is expected to introduce legislation to address the issues in 2019.”

The incidents with mental health patients are tracked internally via an Excel spreadsheet, he said.

Emergency committal orders were at 46 (47 in 2017;) temporary detention orders at 29 (36 in 2017;) and incidents of taking willing patients for treatment were at 5 (3.)

The spokesman also noted productivity statistics in his statement. The largest numbers being calls for the police (40,101,) area security checks (23,353) and court papers served (2,254.)