JOPLIN, Mo. — 2019 was a busy year for Joplin Police – with an eight percent increase in crime.
What’s prompting the trend?
Most crime categories saw a jump last year.
That’s everything from robbery and domestic assault to drunk driving and theft.
Violent crime alone saw a triple digit jump.
JPD Chief Sloan Rowland, said, “That includes assault, domestic assault, unlawful use of a weapon, homicide, sexual assault and robbery. Those are up about 7% overall.”
But not every single category was up – homicide dropped from three to two and there was a slight decrease in sex crimes.
The biggest increase – 24% – came in a trend that was down in 2018.
“We had kind of a low year last year for unlawful use of a weapon – and that includes a lot of things. That can be somebody carrying something like brass knuckles, somebody shooting inside the city, somebody shooting at a car window.”
Property crime was up overall, in some cases with just one or two suspects committing a string of break-ins or thefts.
“We’re trying to change up the way we do business and get that individual off the street. When they’re out there committing multiple crimes – taking two or three people off the street can affect those numbers dramatically.”
Part of the 2020 focus is to help potential victims avoid issues in the first place.
“We see a lot of stuff stolen out of vehicles, see people roaming neighborhoods looking for that vehicle that’s open, for that laptop, that purse, that cell phone that’s left in the vehicle.”
So reminding folks to lock doors and hide their valuables.
There were two homicides in 2019, compared with three the year before.
That’s consistent with the last five years, with two or three deaths each year.
JPD plans to use these numbers to hopefully turn around some of the trends in 2020.