Police respond to record calls | SteamboatToday.com

Police respond to record calls

Police officers in 2005 responded to a record 9,199 calls about everything from minor thefts to major crimes such as sexual assault and drug distribution.

Although most of the calls were about barking dogs or missing cell phones, the statistics show increases in thefts, identity thefts and methamphetamine-related crimes, said officers who compiled the data, some of which ultimately will be sent to the FBI.

Police Capt. Joel Rae said the department received 15,000 calls last year, and officers responded to 9,199 of them, up from 8,300 in 2004.

“I think there’s been a steady increase in Steamboat’s population for the past 10 years,” Rae said. “When you have more people in a town, obviously there is an increased need for officers.”

Besides barking dogs and dogs at large, the highest number of calls for service was from residents reporting property or identity theft, Rae said.

“Theft is a huge problem,” he said. “We’ve seen a drastic increase in thefts over the years. People need to stop leaving their ski equipment unattended in the winter and their bikes unattended in the summer.”

More people also called about identity thefts, Rae said. Most of those calls were from people receiving bills for purchases they said they hadn’t made or to report other people trying to get credit cards in their names, he said.

Theft reports also were up in the county and across the state. Theft reports to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office increased to 65 in 2005 from 56 in 2004.

Steamboat did not escape the national rise in methamphetamine crimes, Rae said.

In 2004, Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team officers arrested 27 people on suspicion of selling or possessing methamphetamine. In 2005, the total more than doubled, to 72 arrests.

Overall, narcotics officers made 103 drug-related arrests, including the methamphetamine arrests.

Rae said the department is required to report a specific set of statistics that include homicide, arson, rape, burglary and felony theft to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation by April. The state bureau passes the data along to the FBI for analysis.

In 2005, six forcible rapes, one robbery, 38 aggravated assaults, 65 simple assaults, 41 burglaries, 401 thefts, three arsons and 23 motor vehicle thefts were reported, he said.

Except for thefts, the numbers were about the same as 2004, he said.

The department uses its annual data to analyze crime and calls for police in the city, he said.

“We are constantly analyzing where crimes are taking place,” he said. “Our first priority is always to respond to crimes where people have been the victim of a crime.

“Safety is the most important item on our list.”

In addition to the property thefts, Rae said 23 motor vehicle thefts were reported in 2005.

July and August is the dep–art–ment’s busiest time of the year, Rae said.Rae said 101 people were arrested in July, compared with 92 in June and 95 in December.

Rae recommended people prevent themselves from being the victims of crime, especially thefts, by locking car and house doors and always being aware of what is going on around them.

— To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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