Crime in Boise Drops for Sixth Straight Year
Link to Comparative Crime Stats for the City of Boise 2010
Boise, Feb 14, 2010 - Boise Chief of Police Michael Masterson joined Boise Mayor David Bieter, City Council President Maryanne Jordan and a large group of citizens and officers today in announcing the 2010 Statistical Crime Summary for Boise City. Last year, so-called “Part 1 crimes” – serious felonies were down 3.5 percent from 2009, and since 2005, down 25.8 percent. As Chief Masterson noted, that means 2,140 fewer crime victims in Boise in the past six years.
Violent crime is down in many US cities, and certainly to some degree Boise is following a national trend. However, the Chief and Mayor say Boise has a very strong community-oriented policing philosophy, reflected in School Resource Officers, Neighborhood Contact Officers, dedicated traffic enforcement teams, and many community outreach programs involving kids and community groups. The City also has many pro-active neighborhood safety programs, some put in place over the past several years while existing programs have been refined and developed. The Chief, the Mayor and officers say a community attitude that values and prioritizes public safety is making a difference. Several of those programs - and the people behind them - were recognized today as the report was released at Morris Hill Park.
The following are Chief Masterson's remarks delivered upon release of the 2010 City of Boise Crime Statistics:
The Chief credits officer and community partnerships to improve public safety as making a difference.
Almost 200 years ago Sir Robert Peel offered 9 Principles of policing to guide us in our work. His philosophical platform is the foundation of modern day community policing.
1. “The police are the people and the people are the police.
2. Prevention of crime could be accomplished without intruding into the lives of citizens. And
3. and more importantly for our reason here today: the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it”
Today, we’re releasing statistics on crime reports in Boise, like we do every quarter. There’s more good news. The numbers are down again.
Police can’t claim all of the credit. Certainly a portion of the reduction may reflect nationwide trends; some involves good police work. But, behind the numbers are PEOPLE, PARTNERSHIPS, and PROGRAMS.
As crime drops, it’s doesn’t just create nice charts with downward arrows… it means FEWER VICTIMS of crime in our city. Fewer people in our emergency rooms; less time lost at work, and better quality of life for many.
These stats also represent people like those gathered here today.
These numbers reflect – in large part, I believe, – a lot of hard from a many people.
Officers and citizens have worked hard the past several years creating programs and building partnerships and relationships that… no matter what happens to our future stats… will continue to benefit public safety in Boise.
First, let me explain what we’re seeing in our 2010 crime stats… because as the Mayor says.. this is good stuff.
This Crime Index chart reflects what we call “Part 1 crimes” – serious felonies: Murder, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary – to both homes and businesses, Theft, Car Theft and Arson.
In 2010 those were down 3.5 percent from 2009…and down 25.8% since 2005. IN SIX YEARS THAT TRANSLATES TO 2, 140 FEWER VICTIMS OF OUR MOST SERIOUS CRIMES AND THAT’S SIGNIFIANT.
We did see a slight increase in reported rapes last year. That is concerning. However, we look at long terms trends and reported rapes are down significantly from 2005, 2006 and 2007. Anytime we see – even a slight increase in something like reported rapes or sexual assaults, we analyze the data and I can tell you there are NO Patterns among the reports and the vast majority involve individuals – suspects and victims who are known to each other. We actively investigate all such reports and our city and county prosecutors are aggressive in bringing these cases to trial.
The Mayor mentioned Burglaries. Burglaries are significant for several reasons.
First – It’s a “quality of life” type crime. When burglaries happen in a neighborhood, people FEEL less safe. For those who have had the privacy of their homes violated; it’s a sense of security that is hard to restore.
Second – Burglary is often a crime of opportunity… a door or window left open, a purse or something of value left unsecured and out in the open are ripe for the taking for thieves. Because burglary is often a crime of opportunity, with education and your continued cooperation – we can help prevent it!
And finally – Burglary is something YOU – committed neighbors can help prevent. Thieves avoid neighborhood where they know residents are active and alert and not afraid to call police if they see something out of the ordinary or suspicious.
The Mayor is right…burglaries are down as low as they’ve been since 1980! And that’s just because that’s when our reliable data begins.
That’s why we’ve asked you all here today. YOUR EFFORTS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
Realistically, these stats may someday go up.
But the efforts you have made… in volunteering to help your city and our police department… in helping your neighborhood.. and in patrolling and policing our city deserve recognition…
Again because your efforts go BEYOND the numbers.
Would Dick Hartley and Pete Niemiec step forward please…
• Dick Hartley - put in 281 hrs on our uniformed Greenbelt Patrol last year, in 2010. Dick has been a BPD volunteer since October 2003. He’s the retired Director of Secondary Education for the Boise School District. Dick patrols the Greenbelt year-round and he also helps train new Greenbelt Patrol volunteers. In all, Dick has put in a total of over 1900 volunteer hours for the BPD.
• Pete Niemiec - put in 279 hrs on Greenbelt Patrol in 2010. He’s been a BPD volunteer since June 2006. Pete knows his stuff – he was an officer with the California Highway Patrol and retired in 1994. Pete also is out there patrolling the Greenbelt all year long. He’s put in a total of over 1300 volunteer hours for our department.
What I’m presenting here to our honored citizens are Boise Police Challenge Coins. Those who have a military or law enforcement background will be familiar with these.
The story is an Army Air Corp unit in World War One created coins as a momento of their service. When one of the pilots of that unit was downed behind enemy lines and was able to escape wearing civilian clothing, the coin proved he was actually an American military service member which saved his life. These coins… or challenge coins as they’re called now have been adopted by all military units and most law enforcement agencies… and are considered quite an honor to receive; one in recognition of your outstanding work.
It is definitely appropriate that we hand these out to our honored guests today.
Would Kim Bentley and Ed Sheaffer come forward…
• Kim has been actively involved in her Neighborhood watch in the Vista neighborhood for the past six years. She’s consistently worked with police and planning and zoning enforcement to make some very positive changes in her neighborhood. She is also a BPD volunteer, so we see her helping out at department functions.
• Ed Sheaffer has been a very active chairman of the Spring Meadow Neighborhood Watch for the past 12 years! He patrols his neighborhood in southeast Boise, distributes the BPD Crime Prevention newsletter and any crime alerts to his neighborhood. And every year we can count on the good folks in the Spring Meadow area to host a National Night Out party.
Kim Bently and Ed Sheaffer are what Neighborhood Watch is all about. You are making a difference, thank you.
If Lynn Lockhart could step forward, along with Officer Will Reimers. Officer Reimers is the Neighborhood Contact Officer for this area.
• Story is, Lynn Lockhart and Officer Reimers got together and hatched up an idea one afternoon. Lynn came up with the idea of an organized neighborhood patrol and then worked with Officer Reimers to get the training for the neighborhood volunteers. Lynn envisioned the patrol to be friendly and welcoming… Volunteers may pick up trash on the roadway, wave at passing cars, visit with neighbors, as well as look for suspicious and criminal behavior. I’m told you have your own K-9 unit?! And Lynn’s has also applied for and received grants to purchase supplies for the patrol.
Mildred Hickman? Please come up…
• Mildred, I’m told has more energy than people half her age! Mildred is one of the most active volunteers of her Neighborhood Association and the Morris Hill Neighborhood Patrol. Mildred also volunteers to fingerprint children at Kid Print events, she’s worked as McGruff's assistant, and helps us out on our public safety booth at the Mall during the holidays In 2010 Mildred put in 390 hours for the BPD and her community and since she started in 2007 has put in a total of 943 hours.
• Would ALL the members of the Morris Hill Neighborhood patrol step forward to be recognized and accept our thanks for the great work you do for your neighbors and our entire community.
Inside our department as well, we have officers and employees who work hard every day. The Boise Police Department was one of the first in the country to begin to adopt a very strong philosophy of Community Oriented Policing. That’s a long term for the partnerships and cooperation we just recognized. But it also included dedication to programs like School Resource Officers, Neighborhood Contact Officers, and a commitment to traffic education and enforcement. It’s groups like our Organized Retail Crime Unit who work pro-actively with our business community.
And it’s officers like the ones here today.
• Officer Jason Rose – just made his 2,000th DUI arrest, a significant milestone in public safety.
Officer Rose represents the department commitment to safer streets and neighborhoods. One of the most devastating things that can happen on our roadways and change a family’s forever is a drunk driving-related crash.
Perhaps not all of them would agree… but 2,000 DUI arrests means Officer rose has saved 2,000 lives by getting them off the street… and preventing crashes that may have hurt or killed countless others.
Let me take this opportunity as well to announce that the Boise Police Department is adding two officers to the Officer Rose’s unit - the Night STEP team, or our DUI team. Officers compete to be on this team. They are expert at what they do. And I need to thank Officer Rose and his team for keeping our streets safe.
• Officer Erik Tiner – spearheaded a program that were confident will increase cooperation and communication between Boise Police and an important law enforcement partner - Probation and Parole Officers. Officer Tiner had the idea to bring Probation and Parole Officers from the department of Correction inside our offices at City Hall West. They’re there now, and work alongside Boise Police officers to better track criminal offenders in our city and hold them accountable. Great idea Officer Tiner.
• Lt. Bryan Hagler and School Resource Officer, Detective Evan Bradley – both were among a group of officers instrumental in researching and implementing a program we have a lot of faith in, called “Alive at 25”. Both officers work closely with schools, students and families. They created “Alive at 25” in Boise. It’s a traffic school of sorts. A one- day four-hour class for teen and young adult drivers, taught by these police officers designed to make our young people as safe as they can be on our roads. The feedback has been very positive from the young drivers who have attended. This will be an ongoing program thanks to the efforts of these officers.
• Lt. Dave Adams and Officer Kyle Wills – Lt. Adams began the effort ten years ago and Officer Wills picked it up and has run with it ever since… educating and enforcing seat belt use. And it’s making a difference in Boise. Seat belt usage here in Boise is about 96-97% … where statewide it’s estimated at about 78%. Seat belt usage here in Boise is comparable to that of people in Washington and Oregon where fines are $100 - plus. Here we have just a ten-dollar fine… but a lot of education and enforcement.
These are just some of the officers and citizens behind the Stats… the People, Programs, and Partnerships whose efforts will benefit public safety in our city for a long time to come.
But I leave you with a challenge.
Not all the stats are positive.
Notably – Graffiti.
Graffiti is another one of those crimes associated with quality of life. Just a few days ago, MSNBC had a report of degrading cities and the photo that went along with the story was a picture of graffiti on a wall near a neighborhood.
Graffiti is associated with crime and decreasing property values.
Reported graffiti increased almost 40% in Boise last year. That’s after considerable efforts to improve reporting, documentation and investigations.
We know that several small groups of irresponsible individuals, criminals – can be responsible for a great amount of the damage. Our officers make arrests and the cases drop… then others begin the cycle again.
My challenge to all of us for 2011 is to help rid our city of this blight. It happens generally late at night or early in the morning. If you see something suspicious – call it in. When you see graffiti – report it , lets get it cleaned up quickly. If you need help with removal, we have a group of trained BPD volunteers who can help you.
These stats – and these people show when we work together – we are successful in making Boise America’s Most Livable City.