The crime rate in Salina is down. Salina Police Chief Brad Nelson told Salina City Commissioners that the total crime rate is down, from a high of 2,527 crimes reported in 2012 to 1,975 crimes reported in 2015. Nelson said thefts and burglaries are significantly down over the past five years. There were 1,788 reported thefts in 2011 and 1,427 in 2015. There were 398 reported burglaries in 2011 and 269 in 2015.
There were three murders in 2011 and 2015; in the intervening years, there were 2 murders. Over five years, the number of robberies averaged near 26/year. The number of forcible rapes have declined from 43 in 2011 to 33 in 2015. However, the number of aggravated assault and battery cases has shown the most fluctuation; these have increased from 97 incidents in 2011 to 119 in 2015.
Nelson was most proud that SPD has been “able to clear every homicide by arrest” for the past ten homicides. Clearance rates for aggravated assault/battery and arson are also strong. SPD does not track “conviction rates” as much can happen once a case goes into the legal system. Instead, “clearance rates” are tracked. City Manager Jason Gage noted that SPD’s clearance rates were “enviable”.
As comparison, the national clearance rate is listed before the SPD’s clearance rate for the following crimes:
- Murder: 64% national v 100% SPD
- Rape: 41% v 51%
- Robbery: 29% v 49%
- Aggravated Assault: 58% v 59%
- Larceny: 22% v 31%
- Motor Vehicle Theft: 14% v 18%
- Burglary: 13% v 16%
- Arson: 28% v 50%
Nelson credited both the department’s community involvement efforts as well as the support from the community as positive influences. Mayor Kaye Crawford said, “Neighborhoods are so important, for safety.”
Nelson described Salina has having “six beats”, with at least one officer patrolling each beat. Gage said that while the presence of patrol cars might be reassuring to the public, it wasn’t likely that officers would catch an individual in the act of committing a crime. SPD relies on the community to call when neighbors see something concerning.
Commissioner Jon Blanchard questioned where drugs fit into these figures. Nelson responded that this information is not counted in the national statistics. Nelson encouraged individuals with concerns to contract the Drug Task Force or Crime Stoppers and to be persistent. Investigations are expedited if the caller can give license plate numbers. Nelson said these kinds of investigations may take several months to complete.
Nelson acknowledged that Salina “still has a meth problem” and that “property crimes are driven by a desire for meth”.
Commissioner Trent Davis asked about racial profiling. Nelson said a forum on fair and impartial policing will be conducted on August 25th at Kansas Wesleyan University.
Nelson said all officers have completed the 8 hour Mental Health First Aid course and that 30 officers across the state recently completed the Crisis Intervention Team training in Salina; SPC has two CIS trainers.
Each month, SPD reports crime to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which collects data from all law enforcement agencies through the Kanas Incident Based Reporting System (KIBRS). Additional information can be found at www.accesskansas.org/kbi/stats/stats_crime.shtml.