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New data for 2020 shows decrease in crime in Branson

“We almost at 20 percent [down] this year over last year,” Branson Police Department Chief Jeff Matthews said.
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 4:55 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 5:53 PM CST
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - New data shows that overall reported crime is down in Branson so far in 2020 compared to last year.

“We almost at 20 percent [down] this year over last year,” Branson Police Department Chief Jeff Matthews said.

Chief Matthews told the Board of Aldermen during a study session Thursday that robberies and property thefts are down. Burglary numbers are looking better than they did in the spring.

“We actually trended up with the COVID lock-down. The closed businesses, the closed condos, we were seeing break-ins during the closures. We are trending down on those right now,” Chief Matthews said.

The data shows this year compared to last did see an increase in rape, assault, and drug crimes.

“But, I think that’s related to some of the internal organizational change that we’ve made and the proactive approach that we’ve taken to some of our drug enforcement efforts,” Chief Matthews said.

The numbers only reflect those calls that were actually reported in Branson. Chief Matthews says under-reporting is an issue that departments across the country often deal with.

“So, when we talk about community engagement initiatives in Branson, we are going all out. So that we can gain community trust and drive down those under-reported crimes, so we get a better reporting of the actual picture,” Chief Matthews said.

Chief Matthews says, due to the pandemic, the police department has received fewer calls in general.

“We would expect with COVID and some of the lock downs that our calls for service would be downsized. And they are. But, they’re not downsized to the point that I thought we would be looking at. Our calls for service, the BR calls, we are running about 500 less calls as of November the 8th this year than we did last year,” Chief Matthews said.

He says going in to the new year, his department will focus on strengthening relationships with locals.

“The people in our neighborhoods want to feel connected,” Chief Matthews said. “If I can be a part of that by sending them crime specific information for their neighborhoods. That’s nothing but a plus for everybody.”

Chief Matthews says domestic assaults are up slightly this year in Branson, which could be because more people staying home more frequently due to the virus.

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