Last week, the Danville Police Department released its annual report for 2011. Crime statistics show a decrease in aggravated assault, robbery and property crimes, but noticed a slight increase in burglaries.
Although property crimes decreased approximately 1 percent to 496 -- the lowest rate in five years, Police Chief Steve Simpkins said -- officers continue to encourage residents to be wary and not leave valuables in their vehicles.
"We're doing everything we can do combat property crimes. We have officers working in areas that get hit an we use bait cars from time to time," Simpkins said. "We have to remember that this is a really nice place, but it's not ok to leave valuables in plain view. We want to reduce the opportunities for bad guys, because we've arrested guys who tell us they come here specifically."
To help combat crime, reduce driving and improve response times, Danville Police reorganized its three beats and instituted a false alarm registration ordinance. The department received 2,115 false alarm calls in 2011, far more than the next most common non-urgent call, suspicious circumstance. The ordinance requires residents and business owners to register their burglar alarms and is expected to save more than $69,000 and 54 hours of work per year.
The department handled 29,900 calls in 2011 -- averaging a 5 minute, 42 second response time for emergency calls and 6 minute, 37 second response time for urgent calls. Although investigations rose 23 percent to 677 cases last year, the Danville Police investigations department closed 341, or just over 50 percent, cases. In 2010, the department has a 43 percent closure rate.
While 2011 saw an increased case closure rate, the year also brought a 21.8 percent increase in traffic collisions. There were 22 DUI related collisions in 2011, compared with 14 in 2010; juvenile and adult DUI arrests decreased by 16.6 and 6.8 percent, respectively.
Danville had as two fatal collisions in 2011, up from one in 2010. Both injury and vehicle versus pedestrian collision decreased.
"For 2012, the traffic unit will be emphasizing traffic safety by analyzing the specific cause of reported collisions and enforcing those particular vehicle code violations.
DUI enforcement remains a priority," the annual report read.
Chief Simpkins said he wasn't sure if there was a specific reason for the increase in collisions, but said the department would continue to focus on education as well as enforcement. Police will also be looking into primary collision factors in accident-prone areas.
"Every traffic accident that's reported has a primary collision factor, for example, red lights, and if all of the incidents have the same PCF in one place, we will be out enforcing there," Simpkins said.
Of its $8,100,233 total budget, Danville PD spent $856,256 on traffic services in 2011, approximately $4.3 million on patrols and $1.29 million on management and community services. Those interested in learning more about the Danville Police Department are invited to attend a six-week citizen's academy that will highlight the department's functional and operational procedures. More information can be found on the Danville Police website.
"A lot of things happened in 2011 and it was very evident that Danville is a tight knit community," Simpkins concluded. "It makes us very proud to serve a community like that."