SALINA —Salina Police Chief Al Taylor spoke to the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce about crime statistics and trends during a meeting held at El Mexicano in Salina, Nov. 1. The Salina Police Department is comprised of Taylor, Officer Eric MacArt and Officer Keith Hayes, as well as Greg Harwood, the school resource officer.
“We are a small police department, but we are proactive and make every effort to be community oriented,” said Taylor. “Each officer is involved in the community on and off the clock and by being so hands on, at times we have the unique opportunity to prevent crimes before they happen.”
While discussing crime statistics and trends, Taylor pointed out a few particular crimes that have increased significantly over the past year – methamphetamine arrests are up 200 percent, marijuana 266.7 percent, criminal threats have increased 90 percent, criminal mischief is up 16.7 percent, while property crimes are on a downtrend.
The number of incidents officers handle per year averages approximately 1,500 during the past 12 years. In addition, the department responded to an average of some 3,000 calls for service, which differ from incidents and are not assigned a case number or tracked in the annual crime statistics.
From 231 adult arrests in 2007, the numbers increased each year until they peeked in 2011 at 316; yet, have been on a downtrend over the past six years – decreasing substantially to 89 arrests being made in 2017.
“The decrease in arrests can be attributed to multiple things,” Taylor said. First, fewer crimes are being committed or are being prevented by officers being proactive and closely involved with the community. Also, laws and crime classifications have changed over the years. Crimes that once resulted in an arrest are now handled with citations. In addition, the department was downsized from six officers and a police dog to four officers, which includes a school resource officer, when some grants ran out a few years ago.”
Not only have the types of crimes being committed changed over the years, the days and times crimes are committed changes. In 2016, Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m., and Friday around 7 p.m., were the days and times when crime peaked. Wednesday around 3 p.m., was the day and time of highest incidents in 2017, followed by Mondays between 5 and 7 p.m. To date for 2018, Thursdays at 3 p.m., tops the incident chart with Tuesdays at 4 p.m., and Fridays at 5 p.m., coming in second and Wednesdays at 2 p.m., being the third top day and time for crime.
“The amazing community support for the police department is greatly appreciated by each of our officers,” Taylor said. “And, I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to work with such incredible officers here in Salina.”