Branson Police Department releases 2021 annual crime report
BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews released the 2021 annual crime report in a presentation to the Board of Alderman.
The report includes the city’s first homicides since 2016. The two victims died outside of Famous Dave’s in May 2021. When it comes to overall violent crime, Chief Matthews reported there was a 37% decrease in 2021 compared to 2020.
”Most are relational, and the suspects are quickly identified and apprehended,” Chief Matthews says.
Of the 1,574 total reported offenses in 2021, 960 were crimes against property.
Chief Matthews says that’s mostly related to drugs.
“Finding ways to provide for my habit, so most of those are theft and stealing and not much of house or business break-ins,” Chief Matthews says.
The report reads that in 2021, there were 358 crimes against people.
There were 282 assaults, the majority listed as 247 simple assaults. There were 35 aggravated assaults.
The number of more serious aggravated assaults dropped by nearly 20 compared to 2020, with 57 aggravated assaults.
Chief Matthews says those violent crimes are continuing to trend down.
“There have been many virtual discussions about Branson crime throughout social media,” Chief Matthews says. “There was a news article that said Branson was experiencing crime increases similar to many other cities across the nation. As your police chief, I’m here to tell you that’s not the true-crime picture.”
Alderman Marshall Howden argued that he’s felt unsafe living in the community had been times.
“I live in that neighborhood with the murder,” Howdern says. “There were also home break-ins and car invasions and all this stuff that makes me feel unsafe in my own bed.”
That’s why Howden says he wants to see how the police department can continue to protect the city’s residents and many visitors.
“I understand that we’re a tourist community,” Howden says. “I really do. And I understand that we want the front porch of Branson to be the prettiest it can be, and sometimes when talking about the realities of crime, it can kind of put a bad face on things.”
Chief Matthews says a goal for this year is recruiting and retaining officers.
In 2021, there were 60 applicants to the police department. The department only hired eight.
“We hire for character, and we believe that we can train pretty much everything else,” Chief Matthews says. “The one-piece that’s typically missing is that character issue. We find credit ratings. We find moral issues. We find criminal issues. We find a myriad of things there. Our focus is on finding people of character.”
There are currently 13 open positions within the Branson Police Department. Chief Matthews says the goal is to hire about half of that ahead of the June academy.
READ the entire report here.
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