Leader Blues

Friday, August 08, 2008

TOP STORY > >Crime is lower in smaller towns

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Lonoke is one of the safest cities in the area to live in based on 2007 crime statistics compiled by the Arkansas Crime Information Center.

Sherwood, Cabot, Ward and Beebe are statistically tied and just a little worse than Lonoke.

Jacksonville had the highest crime rate of the six area cities that the ACIC provided information for.

The ACIC plans to have the 2007 information on its Web site by the end of the year, but because city police departments use two different methods to report crime to the state agency, the ACIC must convert all the information to one method before posting it.

Looking at what the state classifies as violent crimes—murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault—Jacksonville had nine violent incidents per 1,000 population.

Sherwood, Cabot, Ward and Beebe each came in at five violent incidents per thousand, while Lonoke was at four incidents per thousand.

Jacksonville suffered through one of its worse murder rates in years in 2007 with five homicides. Sherwood reported one, as did Cabot.

On Thursday, Xzavier Arthur Butler, 28, of Jacksonville was sentenced to 195 years in prison for killing two men and wounding another in a local motel last September.

In 2007, Jacksonville reported 25 rapes, while Lonoke had three. Cabot listed nine rapes, Sherwood had seven, Ward had three and Beebe had one.

Jacksonville also had the largest number or robberies at 57, followed by Sherwood at 16, Lonoke and Beebe at 5, Cabot at three and Ward at one.

The aggravated-assault numbers were also highest in Jacksonville, with 200 reported in 2007. Cabot had 87 aggravated assaults, with Sherwood close behind at 85. Beebe had 19 aggravated assaults, Ward had 12 and Lonoke 10.

Using the summary method of reporting, Jacksonville also listed 1,625 property crimes for 2007, which included 360 burglaries, 1,146 thefts, 109 motor vehicle thefts and 10 arsons.

The other five cities used the national incident-based method of reporting crimes.

In its report to the state, Sherwood listed 2,009 incidents, including 129 simple assaults, 146 cases of intimidation, two arsons, 106 burglaries (breaking and entering), two pick-pocket cases, five purse snatchers, 49 shoplifters, 221 thefts, 68 stolen vehicles, 172 cases of vandalism, 351 drug-related cases and 51 weapons violations.

Cabot listed 1,931 total offenses, including 187 simple assaults, 169 cases of intimidation, two arsons, 252 burglaries (breaking and entering), one pick-pocket incident, 12 purse snatchers, 25 shoplifting reports, 140 thefts, 38 stolen vehicles, 181 cases of vandalism, 168 drug-related charges and 14 weapons violations.

Beebe listed 863 total offenses, including 92 simple assaults, 91 cases of intimidation, three arsons, 109 burglaries (breaking and entering), two pick- pocket incidents, seven shoplifting reports, 84 thefts, 14 stolen motor vehicles, 76 cases of vandalism, 47 drug related charges and three weapons violations.

Lonoke listed 511 incidents, including 70 simple assaults, 38 cases of intimidation, one arson, 84 burglaries (breaking and entering), one shoplifter, two purse snatchers, 52 thefts, four stolen vehicles, 47 cases of vandalism, 33 drug-related cases and two weapons violations.

Ward listed 345 offenses, including 33 simple assaults, 32 intimidation cases, 26 burglaries (breaking and entering), 14 thefts, six stolen vehicles, 36 cases of vandalism, 89 drug-related cases and three weapons violations.