Whenever there is a news story about a serious crime in Kent, people worry. We worry too but we also try to keep things in perspective and we rely on data to do that. When you look at the snapshot of crime data in Kent over the last 4 years (from January thru October of each year) you can get a good idea of how safe we are this year versus the prior three years by the numbers rather than the stories that make it into the newspaper headlines.
What got me thinking about all this was receiving Chief Peach’s October Police Statistics report. The numbers for 2009 show total calls for service are running about the same as last year while total arrests are down (-8%). Accident incidents are up 5% but serious crimes are down 10% from the same period in 2008.
That got me wondering about the trends over the last 4 years so I plotted the data on 3 charts. Our job is to protect against all crimes but serious crimes, e.g., assault, rape and homicide are the categories that really define what safety is all about in our community. The good news is that incidents of serious crimes in 2009 are 20% below 2006 figures, 13% below 2007 and 10% below 2008. 7 out of 8 types of serious crimes in 2009 are below 2008 and 7 out of 8 are below 2006 numbers as well – so despite the few recent news stories, the City is justifiably safer than it’s been in the last 4 years.