Clemson police chief: crime analysis helping to reduce crime
By Greg Oliver
CLEMSON — Clemson Police Chief Jimmy Dixon told city council earlier this week crime is down in the city and credited a crime analysis program as a major reason.
There were no homicides in the city last year, just as the year before, while the number of robberies was reduced from 34 in 2016 to just six in 2017. Aggravated assaults were down from 13 to eight, all larcenies were down one from 342 to 341, and motor vehicle thefts decreased from 116 to 89. Criminal sexual conduct cases remained the same with 15 each of the last two years, while breaking and entering saw a slight increase, from 58 to 62.
Dixon said the criminal investigations unit cleared 83 percent of violent crimes and 37 percent of property crimes. The national average clearance rate is 48.1 percent for violent crimes and 19.7 for property crimes.
However, the chief told council that drug arrests are on the rise — with the 175 made in 2017 much higher compared to 113 the previous year and higher than the 131 in 2015 and 128 in 2014.
“Drug arrests are pretty high right now — it’s sad to say, but it’s really high,” Dixon said. “Fortunately, those we’ve arrested have not been Clemson residents nor Clemson students.”
When it comes to noise and party complaints and violations, Dixon said the number of registered parties in the city increased from 172 in 2016 to 193 last year. While noise citations increased from 11 to 17 and noise violation notices from 78 to 91 during that period, the number of noise complaint reports actually decreased from 178 to 146.
In addition, alcohol and disorderly conduct violations were on the decline in 2017. Liquor law violations experienced a decrease from 360 in 2016 to 319 last year, and public drunkenness dropped from 163 to 112. But DUI violations experienced a jump from 100 to 136.
Dixon said the number of traffic collisions in the city saw a marked decrease last year, with 557 reported in 2017, compared to 639 the previous year. There were no fatalities from the collisions that did occur, although the number of injuries did increase slightly from 48 to 54.
“We experienced a 12.83-percent decrease in accidents,” Dixon said.
Dixon said the goal of crime analysis is to become more specific on where and when to allocate resources in an effort to stop, prevent and solve criminal activity taking place within specific areas throughout the city.
Through setting specific patrol objectives from the monthly Crime and Traffic Accountability Program meetings, the chief said success has already been seen.
“The implementation of crime analysis should only enhance those efforts,” Dixon said.
But the chief said while lessening crime is good, it’s also a bad thing.
“It’s a good thing because we’re doing good work, but it’s a bad thing when we apply for grant money,” he said.
Council member Mark Cato responded, “That’s a good problem.”
Dixon said his department implemented more community involvement initiatives in 2017 and plans to continue this year. Those initiatives included holding the annual National Night Out at Dawson Park last year to allow more participation from the entire community and implementation of “High Five Fridays,” where he said “officers and members of the department will be out searching for kids, youth and anyone else willing to return a high-five and a smile.’”
“We are a service-driven organization, charged with the responsibility of making sure all persons that live, work and visit the city of Clemson feel — and are — as safe as possible,” Dixon said. “This is a responsibility we do not take lightly and is also a task that cannot be accomplished without the partnerships between our citizens and visitors. We are grateful for the current and ongoing partnerships at present and we seek opportunities for more partnerships in the future.”
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