Property crimes climb in Cd'A
| April 16, 2010 9:00 PM
COEUR d'ALENE - Property crimes are on the rise in Coeur d'Alene, a possible sign of the tough economic times. Robberies, vehicle theft and forgery crimes all jumped in 2009 compared to 2008, a trend police officials believe is linked to lost jobs and unemployment.
COEUR d'ALENE - Property crimes are on the rise in Coeur d'Alene, a possible sign of the tough economic times.
Robberies, vehicle theft and forgery crimes all jumped in 2009 compared to 2008, a trend police officials believe is linked to lost jobs and unemployment.
"You can draw a conclusion they are crimes of opportunity and people are taking advantage of those opportunities because of the economy," said Sgt. Christie Wood, police spokeswoman. "People are out of work."
Robberies increased from 19 in 2008 to 27 in 2009, a jump of 67 percent, according to a police crime analysis report. Those robberies included banks, pharmacies, and latte stands, as well as personal attacks.
Vehicle theft rose to 85 from 62, and larceny rose to 1,296 cases in 2009, up from 936 the year before.
Fraud cases increased by 72 percent during that time.
"They'll break a window for $5," Wood said of people turning to crimes of opportunity because they're hurting financially. "That's just a reality."
At its highest point in 2009, Kootenai County had an unemployment rate near 11 percent - although conclusions on reports correlating crime and recessions vary, according to the Associated Press.
"I think that plays a huge part into it," said Capt. Clark Rollins of the Idaho State Police, adding his department saw a 20 percent increase in drug case reports from 2008 to 2009.
People can help prevent being victims of property crimes, Wood said, including locking car and residential doors and not leaving valuables out.
The trend hasn't necessarily continued in the early part of this year either, as residential and commercial burglaries are down between 13 and 25 percent through March compared to the same time last year.
Vehicle thefts have also dropped so far in 2010, but theft of bicycles and shoplifting thefts are up.
A positive sign in the 2009 statistical report shows that serious crimes against people declined.
Crimes such as rape, homicide and aggravated battery between 2008 and 2009 were all down.
"That is the good news," Wood said. "We're still a relatively safe city where we don't attract that kind of an element."
The police department credited increased block watch groups and added volunteer patrols as a contributor for those drops.
Overall drug arrests also decreased, and driving under the influence arrests decreased 21 percent to 518 in 2009. There were 658 such arrests in 2008.
In both 2008 and 2009, the police department fielded around 39,500 calls.
A new police Web site, crime?reports.com, enables citizens to research crime occurrences in their neighborhood.