Branson leaders discuss 2018 public safety stats

Branson public safety statistics for 2018 are in. As the police and fire chiefs review the numbers, they say, overall it was a good year.

Despite an increase in the number of calls to the police department, crime in Branson dropped by 14 percent in 2018.

"The big decreases we had were in our stealing offenses. That's stealing and typical theft," Police Chief Jeff Matthews said.

However, Chief Matthews says, in some areas, there was a boost.

"We had some slight increases in our felony assault. We attribute that to changes in the law. Then, we had two other categories that we had some slight increases, auto theft and felony assault, but in total we were up three offenses in those categories. So, I consider us pretty much flat," Chief Matthews said.

Meanwhile, Fire Chief Ted Martin says fire calls were up by nearly 450 calls.

"[We had] 4,868 calls for service calls. That's everything from fires to medical calls to rescue type incidents," Chief Martin said.

Chief Martin chalks that up to overall growth of the city.

"We are seeing more guests, more residents have moved in," Chief Martin said.

Plus, the city's total fire losses add up to just more than $180,000.

"You look at the value of your car or home and that's a relatively low number," Chief Martin said.

However, as Chiefs Martin and Matthews look back on 2019, they say, mostly they're looking to the future.

"If we are not moving forward," Chief Matthews said. "We are not moving,"

This year, the police department plans to strengthen connections with the community.

"With National Night Out, community watch, the youth initiative, [we are] trying to develop more time for our officers to be proactive," Chief Matthews said.

Branson Fire Department will focus on prevention.

"With the fire codes, the building codes, that we are reducing risk. Therefore it's equating to no injury or deaths in the community," Chief Martin said.

Both departments have growth in their futures, as well. Using money from the public safety sales tax, there will be a new police station and fire station, plus more staff.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.