Violent crime was down 15 percent, and property crime was down 6 percent in 2011 compared with 2010 in Youngstown, with total serious crime dropping 7 percent, according to city police statistics.
There were 673 violent crimes reported in 2010 but only 569 in 2011. The violent-crime category includes homicide, rape, robbery and felonious assault.
Property crimes, including burglary, theft, motor- vehicle theft and arson, dropped from a total of 4,387 in 2010 to 4,143 last year.
“Police presence is the key to deterring crime, and that’s what I’ve been pushing for,” said Mayor Charles Sammarone. The mayor said he believes police visibility in the neighborhoods is the key to deterring all types of crime.
Sammarone said he also has insisted on maintaining foot patrols in downtown Youngstown. “The businesses are very satisfied with seeing a police officer in a uniform,” he added.
“Over the last five years, we’ve done a lot better job of collaborating with our state and federal law-enforcement partners in dealing with chronic offenders and drug-related crime,” said police Chief Rod Foley as he explained why he thought overall serious crime dropped.
The only major crime categories that increased were homicides, which rose from 21 in 2010 to 23 last year, and arsons, which went up from 241 in 2010 to 265 last year, with both categories showing a 10 percent increase.
Many homicides are “related to drug and gang violence,” Foley said, adding that homicides have been trending downward in recent years.
Rapes plummeted by the largest percentage, falling 33 percent from 49 reported in 2010 to 33 incidents in 2011.
Reported rapes have fluctuated considerably over the years, and the numbers have not been consistent, Foley said. “We think that crime is underreported” because of the stigma attached to reporting it in some quarters, he said.
The other declines were 18 percent in felonious assaults, 17 percent in motor-vehicle theft and 10 percent each in robbery and theft.
The number of burglaries dropped 2 percent.
The burglary category, which showed 2,028 reported last year, had by far the highest number of incidents of any specific major crime.
“A lot of times, crime is based on the economy,” the mayor said in response to the continued high numbers of burglaries.
“Property crime reflects the economy in Youngstown,” which has a high poverty rate, and burglars often are committing this crime against their friends and neighbors, Foley said.
The second-most common of the major crimes was theft, which dropped from 1,709 incidents in 2010 to 1,545 last year.