Crime statistics in Youngstown show a decrease in criminal activity for most of the nine categories tracked throughout the year.
The Youngstown Police Department has made crime statistics for the first 10 months of 2010 available to the public. Statistics for November and December had not been completed as of this week.
The statistics show that crime rates in the city dropped for murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault and arson through October 2010 compared to the same time in 2009.
The number of burglaries and thefts showed an increase in 2010 going from 1,473 burglaries in 2009 to 1,640 burglaries in 2010, and 1,253 thefts in 2009 to 1,437 thefts in 2010.
The number of stolen cars in 2009 vs. 2010 was even at 288 through October.
Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said the rate of burglaries and thefts is up primarily because of the economy. He said increased rates in those categories during an economic downturn are not unique to Youngstown.
“People take things that don’t belong to them because they just can’t buy [them] on their own. We usually see this spike around the holidays, but now it is up year-round,” he said.
Hughes said arrests in those same two categories also have risen with the number of crimes committed. Records show there were 104 arrests for burglary through October 2009 compared with 109 arrests for burglary during the same time frame in 2010. There were 42 arrests for theft in 2010 and 54 arrests for theft in 2009.
Police Capt. Rod Foley said there are a number of things residents can do to minimize the chances that they will become a victim of burglary.
Foley said people should leave lights and televisions on varying timers when they will be away from home to give the impression that someone is still in the house. He said it is also a good idea to let neighbors know when no one is going to be in the house.
“Many of our burglaries are in the daylight hours. People go to work, and their neighbors see people but do not realize that the house is being burglarized,” said Foley.
It is also a good idea, police say, to not have obstructions around exterior windows and have the post office hold mail when leaving town.
In 2009, the city recorded its first homicide Jan. 20. The first homicide of 2010 was recorded Jan. 2 with the murder of 30-year-old West Side resident Dene Montgomery, found shot to death on the North Side.
The city finished with 23 homicides in 2009. The total homicide count at this point in 2010 is 20. Of the 20 homicides, eight have not been solved, but Foley said the department is actively working the cases and has strong leads in several of the cases.
“There are eight that are really still active, and with those, there are a couple with really strong suspects. We don’t have enough evidence to charge anyone yet, but we are looking at new information,” he said.
Records show there are 13 unsolved homicides from 2009.
Hughes said he is proud of efforts in the department that have shown a decrease in several areas of crime in 2010. He said continued efforts to do routine checks and confiscate guns should help push those numbers down in the coming year.
“Our ability to hunt you down and have justice served after the crime is a large reason for the numbers going down. It has made a difference, and it will continue to make a difference,” said Hughes.