Report: Seguin’s crime declines with public’s help

Sunday, October 31, 2021

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Dalondo Moultrie The Seguin Gazette

 

Working with the community is the name of the game when providing police services in Seguin, and authorities say it is paying off.

The city of Seguin saw lower numbers of certain crimes committed thanks in part to the department’s community policing strategy, Seguin Police Department Assistant Chief Rusty Suarez said.

“Our officers are doing an outstanding job as far as being out there, being productive and being visible to help prevent all types of crimes in our city,” he said. “We take pride in our jobs and try to do the best job we can. Hopefully, that prevents criminals from doing something they’re not supposed to be doing.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released data from its Uniform Crime Reporting program, which generates reliable statistics for use in law enforcement, according to the FBI’s website.

The program has provided crime statistics since 1930 and includes data from more than 18,000 city, university and college, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, the FBI said.

Agencies voluntarily participate by submitting their crime data, which Seguin Police Department did.

The Uniform Crime Report breaks down crimes into two categories: violent crimes and property crimes.

The bureau considers homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault as violent crimes, while it considers arson, burglary, larceny or theft, and motor-vehicle theft as property crimes.

Overall, Seguin saw decreases in the total numbers of both violent crimes and property crimes in a comparison of 2019 and 2020, the years for which the FBI released the most recent data.

The city did better than the state of Texas in overall numbers and in particular areas, Suarez said.

“As far as our numbers compared to the state of Texas, there were several areas where we saw a decrease,” he said. “We saw an increase in aggravated assaults and violent crimes in the state of Texas. Here we saw a decrease. That’s great.”

Statewide, violent crime increased by about 7.9%. While property crimes across Texas decreased by about 2.8%, Seguin saw a slightly larger drop of about 5.2% in all property crimes.

Locally, violent crimes of homicide, robbery, and aggravated assault took turns in the right direction. Rapes in Seguin rose from 11 reported in 2019 to 14 in 2020, an increase of about 27.3%.

Rapes are not always reported in the year that they occur so the UCR numbers are sometimes skewed, Suarez said.

But department personnel try to help educate the community in hopes of eliminating sexual assaults, he said.

“We try to preach always be aware of your surroundings; try to take precautionary measures when you’re out,” Suarez said.

Not everything works. Preventing sexual assaults, which usually happen behind closed doors, is difficult for police, Suarez said.

Police do what they can when they can to stop the crimes, he said.

“If we’re in the right spot at the right time, we intervene,” Suarez said. “But usually, when (a rape) happens, we’re not there.”

Seguin police reported no arsons to the FBI. The department reported decreases of 4.9% and 8.25% for the crimes of burglary and larceny-theft, respectively.

However, the city saw a 34.9% year-over-year increase from 43 incidents to 58 incidents of motor-vehicle theft, according to the data.

Although narcotics use or distribution crimes are not tracked in the UCR program, they contribute to other forms of crime, Suarez said. Seguin Police Department targets narcotics offenders in hopes of discouraging other transgressions from happening, he said.

“Narcotics can be directly correlated to thefts,” Suarez said. “People are going to start stealing more to feed their habits. If we can hit their source, they don’t have that source available to them so they’re less likely to commit a crime to feed the habit.”

Officers getting out into the community, having their faces seen and talking to residents and business owners helps the department crack down on crime, he said. Community members should know that the Seguin Police Department is here to help and can be called whenever needed, Suarez said.

“If you see something, say something,” he said. “If you see someone around who is not normally around the neighborhood, let us know something.”

It’s possible that person is watching the neighborhood or they doing nothing at all harmful. Either way, alerting the police can only help, Suarez said.

Seguin’s UCR numbers and others across the country are available online at fbi.gov/services/cjis/ucr/publications 

View article on SeguinGazette.com

Category: news, Quality of Life

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