CRIME ON THE RISE IN LUBBOCK

25 Feb

MORE ON THIS STORY ON THURSDAY’S LFN.

From the AJ:

Home invasions more than doubled last year in Lubbock compared to 2007, according to numbers recently released by the Lubbock Police Department.

Most other crimes also spiked in 2008, bucking national trends of decreased crime last year, according to FBI statistics and Lubbock police records.

–Violent crimes rose about 6 percent in Lubbock. The violent crime rate was 976.5 per 100,000 residents.

–Nearly 2,100 violent crimes were reported in 2008 — 145 more than in 2007.

–Robberies increased about 15 percent, with nearly 300 occurring. Aggravated assaults were up 8.4 percent.

–There were about 28 home invasions last year in Lubbock compared to roughly 13 the year before. In 2006, there were about 24 invasions. Police say the numbers are not exact because they have not traditionally kept track of home invasions because there isn’t a state statute for the crime.

–Rapes and homicides dropped in Lubbock last year.

–Property crimes increased about 3.8 percent. Vehicle burglaries saw the highest spike at 16 percent. Residential burglaries rose about 7 percent, and theft cases increased 7.8 percent.

Still, police officials say Lubbock is a safe place to live.

“We certainly wouldn’t call that a dramatic increase,” said Capt. Greg Stevens, spokesman for the police department, adding the overall crime increase wasn’t significant enough to be a major cause for concern.

“What really matters, in my opinion, arguably for most people is your sense of safety — how safe do you feel?” Stevens said, adding he believes a widespread sense of safety paints a more accurate picture of crime in Lubbock.

He said he believes residents overall feel safe in Lubbock because the city doesn’t have a widespread problem with random violence, though some pockets in Lubbock may be safer than others.

“The vast majority of those violent crimes are not random in nature,” Stevens said, noting it is very common for there to be a pre-existing relationship between the involved parties.

For example, FBI statistics show most murders are committed by somebody the victim knew.

Crime compared

While crime rates were up last year over 2007, most crime in Lubbock was lower last year than most any other year over the last decade, an analysis of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports show.

–The violent crime rate per 100,000 residents was down about 22 percent compared to the rate in 2000. It was down 4 percent compared to 1998.

–There were 976 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2008 to 1,256 per 100,000 in 2000 (2,098 crimes vs. 2,508, respectively).

Still, crime rates in Lubbock have been higher than national averages, according to the FBI.

–Nationwide, the FBI reported violent crime was down 3.5 percent, and property crime was down 2.5 percent during the first half of 2008 — the only numbers available. The national crime rate also was down the year before.

–In 2007, there were about 919 violent crimes per 100,000 Lubbock residents compared to a rate of about 635 for cities with populations between 100,000 and 249,999, according to FBI statistics.

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