City crime statistics collected by Rutland City Police Department show improvements in many areas in 2017 and 2018.
According to the police department:
— Forced-entry burglaries dropped 32 percent from 2017 to 2018, from 68 to 46.
— Non-forced entry burglaries dropped 60 percent, from 40 to 16.
— Shoplifting dropped 17 percent, from 153 to 117.
— Other larcenies dropped 36 percent, from 308 to 198.
— Aggravated assaults dropped 16 percent.
Other statistics showed continued improvement. Reports of suspicious activity dropped from a long-term average of 1,107 to 847 in 2018; citizen disputes fell from an average of 465 to 395; and reports of family fights or domestic disputes fell from 456 to 377.
Also showing improvements over a 5-year average included noise disturbances, which fell from an average of 239 to 175 while animal noise complaints dropped from 64 to 38. Burglary alarms, juvenile problems, motor vehicle issues, driving while under the influence of intoxicants, vandalism, stray animals, parking issues and littering also dropped from the long-term averages.
Chief Brian Kilcullen, of the Rutland City Police Department, said those statistics showed a decline in certain crimes between 2017 and 2018 but also showed a downward trend over five years.
While Kilcullen acknowledged it might be anecdotal, he said he had a theory about the decrease in criminal activity.
“As (addiction) treatment capacity increased in the area, we saw what we call our ‘cash-ready’ crimes decrease. Our cash-ready crimes are larcenies, burglaries where property is stolen and traded for cash quickly to support addiction. As treatment increased, those have gone down and we think there’s a connection,” Kilcullen said.
Police have gotten better at collecting and analyzing data to determine where and when they need to direct resources to prevent trouble.
The RCPD is using “Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety,” (DDACTS) to improve response and be more proactive, according to Kilcullen.
Mayor David Allaire said the statistics were discussed Tuesday at the bi-monthly “RutStat” meeting, which is a local version of New York City’s CompStat program.
“Obviously, it’s a very good thing for the City of Rutland,” Allaire said.
Allaire said he believed the changes, which he called a “trend,” were part of a coordinated effort in Rutland.
“I think it tells a story that all the work that’s been put in by, certainly, the Rutland City Police Department, but everyone that is involved from the social service agencies to city government to all the players. It’s helping to move our quality of life issues in a positive direction,” he said.
Kilcullen discussed the statistics at the Thursday meeting of Project VISION, which was created to allow the community to play a part in Rutland’s response to the heroin epidemic and crime that resulted from the abuse of opioids.
“The numbers we’re seeing isn’t just a result of what we’re doing,” Kilcullen said on Friday. “It’s what everyone’s doing in the community.”
Joe Kraus, chairman of Project VISION, thanked Kilcullen on Thursday for acknowledging the work done by community partners such as Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland City Schools and local treatment providers and addiction resources to improve neighborhoods.
After hearing about the positive trends on Tuesday,
Allaire said he wanted to get the information to the community as soon as possible, adding that the information could have a positive effect on the efforts to attract new residents and businesses to Rutland.
“That’s key. The governor talked about it yesterday in his address and it certainly is key here in Rutland, boosting the population and getting some more people in here so we can get these jobs filled,” Allaire said.
A presentation by Kilcullen to the Rutland community on the 2018 crime statistics is expected next month, according to Allaire.
At the Project VISION meeting, Kilcullen was asked what the statistics look like for the current year.
“Well, it’s only been a week,” he said, earning a big laugh.