Crime trending downward for Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Springfield Police released the last crime statistic report for 2017 this week.

"The numbers are important. That's why I give this report every month. We track those everyday," said Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams.

There was an overall drop in crime at the end of last year compared to 2016 by 15 percent. However a closer look at the report shows that violent crimes are up by 8 percent.

"Sexual assaults, the homicides and aggravated assaults, generally, are between people that know each other," explained Williams.

In other words, those crimes aren't random.

Crimes like burglaries, thefts and stolen vehicles are random. Those cases dipped at the end of last year by 18 percent compared to 2016.

"Some very prolific criminals that were active last year we caught them and we prosecuted them. They're off the streets. That is absolutely going to lead to a decrease. Car break-ins and burglaries, people just don't commit one of those, they commit a string. You catch one person and you stop 15 or 20 other crimes from occurring," said Williams.

He said more people are protecting themselves.

"We've been harping on this for a year about the auto thefts and about how many people can prevent by just doing some simple things. I like to think that people finally taking that to heart. They're locking their cars up. They're taking their keys. They're not leaving them running," he said.

Looking ahead, the department will work to increase safety thanks to the level property tax.

"We're going to be adding investigators over the next two or three years to some of these very areas we've talked about. Domestic assaults and our property crimes. Things we haven't had enough resources to dedicate to," said Williams.

He credits the community with the shift in crime trends.

"People are being more vigilant. That's what's driving this and I hope this trend continues throughout 2018," said Williams.

The department is working on their final crime statistics report for all of last year. That's expected to be released by the end of this month.