Salem crime drops in '06

SALEM — Crime in the city dropped in 2006, and Police Chief Robert W. Floor is working to continue the trend.

The chief said today there were no homicides, attempted homicides or fatal crashes in 2006. There was one attempted homicide in 2005.

There were 1,083 adult arrests for crime in 2006 as compared with 1,211 in 2005. That’s a drop of 10.5 percent.

Total juvenile arrests also were down in 2006 --   181, compared to 229 in 2005. That’s a drop of 20.9 percent.

Assaults were down: 25 in 2006; 39 in 2005.

Petty thefts dropped to 14 in 2006 , compared with 33 in 2005.

Grand theft charges were the same, with three in each year.

Driving while under the influence charges rose from 72 cases in 2005 to 95 cases in 2006, however.

“Some things got better, and some things got worse,” Floor said.

Drug possession charges, which Floor said normally occur after someone is searched after a traffic offense, dropped to 11 in 2006 from 15 in 2005.

Floor, like Columbiana County Prosecutor Robert Herron, believes that about 80 percent of all crimes are tied to drug abuse.

Most thefts occur, the chief said, because a person is, “trying to get money to buy more drugs.”

Several properties in the city are believed to be drug houses. Floor said, however, “They are not the type of crack houses other communities have.”

Salem’s drug problem is not as severe as the drug problem in East Liverpool and Wellsville, the chief added.

A severe drug problem can destroy cities, Floor said, adding, “I know the battle is not lost [in Salem].”

Investigations are continuing into drug abuse in the city. The police department has members working with two area drug task forces who regularly notify the chief on the status of investigations.

The department overall was more active last year.

In 2006, the department had more than 3,000 more phone calls than in 2005, and more than 1,300 radio transmissions.

Floor said the department also traveled about 40,000 more miles during patrols in 2006 than 2005. Floor said, however, the city actually used less gas because of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The department also is working on adjusting a new computer program that will improve its record-keeping.

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