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Crimes Reported in Clark County Up for 2007

July 13, 2008

By Matt Thacker, The Evening News and the Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind.

Jul. 13–There was a sharp rise in the number of crimes reported to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department from 2006 to 2007, according to statistics collected for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports.

The department reported 129 violent crimes in 2007, compared to 53 in 2006. The number of violent crimes had steadily decreased since 2002, when 154 were reported.

Property crimes have increased too, although not as drastically. There were 712 property crimes reported last year, 85 more than the previous year.

Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden believes the economy has a lot to do with the increase.

“People lose their jobs, and they get frustrated,” he said.

He said that he has noticed the number of thefts have gone up. In fact, the number of motor vehicle thefts more than doubled last year.

Rodden said the jail population has remained stable, but the number of crimes and the high cost of fuel also makes it difficult for police.

“It puts a strain on us and all law enforcement agencies,” Rodden said. “We’re facing the shortages everyone has. Whether or not that affects the numbers, there’s no real way to put a direct correlation on it.”

The department was the only in the area with 2007 statistics available.

Rodden may be correct about the effects of the economy, even looking back a year. After the crime rate decreased nationally for 13 straight years, it increased slightly in 2005 and again in 2006.

The amount of violent crimes reported by the Jeffersonville Police Department more than doubled in 2006. There were 145 aggravated assaults, compared to 56 in 2005. Property crimes remained fairly stable, but burglaries shot up from 234 to 401.

In Clarksville, violent crimes rose from 77 to 94 in 2006. Property crimes also rose to the highest number since 2000.

Floyd County reported only four violent crimes in 2006, the lowest amount this decade. Property crimes have steadily climbed though.

Floyd County Sheriff Darrell Mills said that a major problem for his department has been vehicle thefts.

“We seem to be a magnet for car break-ins,” Mills said. “You would be surprised the amount of people who leave their doors unlocked. Someone steals their car, and then they also have access to the garage-door opener.”

Mills said almost all violent crimes in the county are somehow related to drugs. He said that by focusing on taking drugs off the streets, they have decreased the amount of violence.

The number of violent crimes in New Albany has remained fairly steady, while the amount of property crimes has even decreased somewhat. New Albany has typically had a higher crime rate than other departments in the area.

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