Last week, the Danville Police Department released its annual report for 2012. Crime statistics show a decrease in property crimes and traffic incidents.
"2012 represents a year of significant accomplishments for the police department, with outreach being a key factor," Police Chief Steve Simpkins wrote in the report.
Through its Citizens Academy, which allowed the department to recruit several new volunteers in policing, along with several outreach programs designed to educate residents on safety and watchfulness, the annual report showed continued improvement from 2011 in all crime categories.
"The Police Department team continued to drive the property crime rate down through proactive policing. On the roadways, our stance on traffic safety within the town remains strong, which allowed us to lower the incidence of traffic collisions in 2012 to a 10 year low."
Overall traffic collisions fell from 376 in 2011 to 356 in 2012, with zero fatal collisions in 2012. There were six fewer DUI-related collisions in 2012 and seven fewer vehicle-versus-bicycle collisions (from from 15 in 2011 to eight in 2012). Collision reports were also down, with 203 reported in 2012 compared to 223 the previous year.
Simpkins noted the department's new fleet of police cars, which outfits every vehicle with a camera.
Statistics in the annual report also showed a continuing decline in both violent crime and property crime. Violent crimes dropped from 26 in 2011 to 20 in 2012. While property crimes are still the majority reported in Danville, 2012 had 443 reports -- 53 fewer than 2011.
Chief Simpkins said that he was pleased to see the numbers continue to go down and encourages residents to take precautions to continue the trend. In addition to locking doors and keeping valuables out of view, reporting suspicious activity is paramount.
"The more calls we receive from watchful residents reporting suspicious activity, the more success we have in finding and reducing crime," he said. "Together we send a strong message to criminals that Danville is not the place to come and do their business."
Burglaries also dropped last year to 94, down from 102 the previous year. There were two robberies in 2012 and 332 reports of larceny in 2012, down from 361. All incidents peaked in 2007.
Danville Police handled thousands of calls for service in 2012, with the most common being false alarm calls (1,967), suspicious circumstances (1,062) and 911 hang-ups (791). Other popular call types included juvenile disturbances and property damage on traffic collisions. Response times for emergency calls averaged 5 minutes and 34 seconds and 6 minutes 15 seconds for urgent calls.
Although the number of cases handled by investigations decreased slightly to 663 in 2012, Danville Police detectives closed 49.3 percent of all cases -- up 0.9 percent from 2011. Investigations department cases include robbery, assault, narcotics, identity theft and fraud.
The annual report highlighted significant cases closed by Danville Police, including the apprehension of the suspect in a Jamaican lottery scam who took money from an elderly resident. Danville Police executed a search warrant on the suspect's home in Los Angeles and, with the assistance of the L.A. Police, arrested and booked the suspect for fraud.
Detectives also worked to arrest a Washington state man who was having inappropriate communication with a local juvenile. Working with the juvenile, an undercover Danville Police officer impersonated a juvenile to locate the suspect in town and conducted the arrest. Though the suspect was released on bail prior to filing charges, child pornography was found on his computer and he will be extradited from Washington to California.
In addition to closing investigations, Danville Police provided essential and community services to residents, including 238 live scans, 153 car seat inspections, 24 Scout tours, four bike rodeos and numerous neighborhood watches. Officers visited nine neighborhoods during National Night Out in August to do finger printing and talk to children about the department's Stranger Danger program.
Reserve officers and volunteers in policing officers handle low-priority details, provide extra patrol at schools and help at special events. Collectively, the two groups volunteered 8,511 hours in 2012.
Danville Police Department's budget in 2012 was $8,222,137 with 52 percent, or $4.3 million, dedicated to patrol. $1.3 million of the budget is allocated for police management, $925,000 for traffic and $635,012 for investigations. Special events patrols cost the department $140,000 in 2012.
"As we move forward into 2013, the Police Department pledges to maintain a proactive posture towards crime and traffic safety. We have set the bar high and will continue to promote Danville's small town atmosphere and outstanding quality of life," Simpkins concluded.
View the annual report in its entirety on the Danville Police Department'swebsite.