JAMESTOWN – Part I violent crimes in the City of Jamestown increased by 15.46 percent in 2018, according to the statistics released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
The statistics, which were also presented Monday evening as part of Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi’s State of the Union address, showed that the number of the reported rapes increased from 10 to 30 between 2017-18 (+66.66%). Aggravated assaults saw an increase of eight percent, while robberies dropped by 9 percent.
WNYNewsNow reached out to Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings on Tuesday morning to discuss the statistics, and what they truly mean. Snellings said the biggest reason for the jump in Part I violent crimes is due to the significant percentage increase in reported rapes.
“Fifteen percent, at face value, sounds pretty significant,” Snellings said. “But when you go from 10 to 30, that was an increase of 66.6 percent right there. It’s just one part of it. It’s something that everyone has measured when we start talking about crime rates.”
“The numbers are the numbers.”
Snellings, again, reiterated that the increase in violent crime stemmed from reported rapes. The Chief added that a lot of the rapes started as domestic violence incidents.
“I’m not going to diminish any kind of crime,” Snellings said. “Again, the significant increase in our violent crime was the reported rapes. Over half of those were related to domestic violence incidents, so it’s not like we have a serial rapist around.”
“Anytime we see rises, it is concerning. These are things we look at and we try to figure out why they’re trending in a certain way. But, I wouldn’t create panic over it.”
Part I property crime, however, decreased by 7.96 percent in 2018. The decrease can be attributed to a 16.37 percent decline in burglaries, 1.96 percent decrease in larcenies and a 48.83 percent decrease in motor vehicle thefts.
The statistics, when examined further, showed that the total number of part one index crimes decreased by 3.96 percent. In addition, the total index rate per 1,000 people decreased from 34 to 32.6.
All statistics were calculated using a population of 31,146. The statistics are based on all reported crimes, whether an arrest was made or not.
Snellings, when asked what message he’d like to relay to the community, expressed his gratitude for those who work in the Jamestown Police Department as well as the community, which he said continues to provide support for JPD.
“I want to thank the men and women of our department for all of their hard work that they put in every year, the support that we receive from the community, which is crucial,” Snellings said. “We’ll continue to look at ways to address the issues that we continue to face, whether it’s the significant increase in guns we’re seeing the last six months, the continuous drug issues, with the focus being methamphetamine, and trying to address some of these property crimes related to the drug problem that we’re still seeing.”