MERIDEN — Data supplied to the FBI shows a bump in aggravated assaults, larcenies, and motor vehicle accidents in 2017, but declines in homicides, rapes, robberies, and simple assaults.
The report also shows that overall complaints for the listed offenses have dropped each year since 2013.
The data, detailed in a quarterly report from police to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee earlier this month, indicates police responded to 2,008 so-called Part 1 crimes, a group of eight offenses the FBI tracks annually through its Uniform Crime Reporting.
The group of offenses includes homicides, rape, robberies, burglaries, larceny, motor vehicle thefts, aggravated assault, and arson. The department’s report didn’t provide information on arson arrests or complaints.
“The statistics pretty much speak for themselves,” said Mark Walerysiak, deputy chief of operations. “Our department has done some excellent work over the past year, and I’m extremely proud of the men and women who comprise our sworn and non-sworn positions in doing their best to keep Meriden’s citizens safe.”
Larcenies saw the biggest increase, jumping by 65 complaints to 882, while motor vehicle thefts rose by 14 complaints to 159.
Walerysiak said the bump in larceny complaints “is mostly attributed to the thefts from motor vehicles.” He also said the incidents largely involve thieves just checking doors to see if they’re locked, not breaking in, despite the department posting frequent reminders on its Facebook page to secure parked vehicles.
“This is a problem that is not just endemic to Meriden, but the entire state,” Walerysiak said. “For whatever reason, people still refuse to lock their car doors and it’s amazing what they leave in those unlocked cars.”
The majority of the incidents occurred near Westfield Meriden mall, according to the report.
Aggravated assaults were up by seven, to 110 incidents. Simple assaults, meanwhile, saw the biggest drop among the crimes included in the report, falling by 23 complaints to 517. Homicide, rape, and robbery, all saw drops of between one and 18 incidents, while reported burglaries remain flat.
Police said there were two reported homicides in 2017, 23 rapes, and 50 robberies.
The report also provides an overview of activity since 2013, with calls for the group of crimes collectively falling each year. The department received a total of 2,360 complaints alleging one of the group of eight crimes in 2013, falling to 2,033 in 2016 and 2,008 last year.
The department experienced one homicide in 2015 and three in 2016 after back-to-back years of no reported homicides. Despite being up compared to 2016, complaints for larceny and motor vehicle thefts were still below their peak for the five-year period — there were 978 reported larcenies and 162 motor vehicle thefts in 2014.
For the five-year span detailed in the report, aggravated assault was the only of the eight crimes to reach its peak in 2017.
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