Police chief: Crime trending down in Westfield

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Westfield Police Chief Joel Rush has positive news about the city – crime is trending down. During a presentation to the city council on Feb. 23, Rush presented law enforcement statistics from last year.

“In 2014 we had a very good year, really. Burglaries dropped almost in half, thefts were down and thefts from vehicles were down,” he said. “That’s a very good thing, especially for our officers who work hard every day. The things we are doing and measures we are taking are working.”

Rush said every police department has to report statistics of seven major crimes to the FBI. Of those categories, Westfield had 604 reports – thefts, 382; battery, 175; burglary, 31; motor vehicle theft, nine; robbery, four; rape, three; and homicide, zero.

“We haven’t been at 604 since 2005,” Rush said, adding that 660 reports were made in 2013 and 708 in 2012. “The trend is trending down, which is good.”

Of the top two categories, Rush said 102 thefts came from shoplifting and another 102 from buildings. Sixty-seven were from motor vehicles, 16 were motor vehicle parts or accessories, six were bicycles and 94 were other. Of the 175 battery reports, Rush said 146 were not aggravated, 13 were aggravated and used body parts, 14 were other dangerous weapons or spitting; and two involved a knife or cutting instrument.

“Fighting crime is a partnership between the police and the community,” Rush said. “Communication is key.”

Other areas highlighted include:

Calls for service: 39,158 – the highest since 2007 (38,289) and up from 37,014 in 2013. Rush said the department also had 9,694 non-dispatched calls which were self initiated from officers on foot patrols.

● Foot and bike patrols: 9,844 in 2014 and 23,042 since 2011. Rush said the average foot/bike patrol is 14 minutes. “One of the biggest things we do is get out of the cares and into the neighborhoods or businesses,” he said.

Vacation service checks: 309 last year. Since 2009, officers have checked 554 addresses more than 7,970 times. The free service has seen a 775 percent increase since 2009.

Vehicle lockouts – Rush said the department is one of the few remaining that offer assistance. In the past 10 years, officers have been called to unlock 8,470 vehicles including 684 in 2014.

Accidents

Rush said Westfield is averaging 612 accidents a year. Since 2005, the department has taken 6,120 accident reports. Last year, police made 14,145 stops and issued 8,345 citations and 9,880 warnings.

“We’re trending down on crashes that involve injuries and fatalities,” Rush said, adding that when U.S. 31 construction is complete the number of accidents should decrease. “As our population grows and traffic construction grows, we’ve increased the amount of stops we make.”

The top accident locations in Westfield

1. U.S. 31 and Ind. 32

2. U.S. 31 and 169th Street

3. U.S. 31 and 151st Street

4. U.S. 31 and 196th Street

5. U.S. 31 and 181st Street

6. Ind. 31 and Gunther Boulevard

7. 151st Street and Oak Road

8. (Tied with six accidents) 151st Street and Carey Road, 156st Street and Towne Road, 161st Street and Carey Road, 151st Street and Cool Creek Park Road, 191st Street and U.S. 31, Carey Road and Ind. 32, Cool Creek Park Road and Greyhound Pass, and Ind. 32 and Wheeler Road.

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