Springfield Police Department sees 30% drop in crimes against property for first quarter of 2022

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 8:50 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Some serious crimes are trending downward in Springfield.

Crimes against property fell 30% in Springfield for the first quarter, January to March of 2022, compared to last year. From January to March of 2021, there were 3,915 crimes against property. In 2022, that number dropped to 2,740.

The focus of the first three months of the year by the police department was auto thefts.

However, compared to last year, those thefts are now down 35.7%.

From January to March of 2021, there were 361 motor vehicle thefts. During that time this year, there were 232.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams says cars being stolen have been on the rise for the last decade.

”People still seem to think this is the Ozarks, you don’t have to lock your cars, and you can leave them running and leave the keys in them, so you don’t forget where they’re at,” Chief Williams says. “We’ve been trying to get people to understand that we’re a big city with big-city problems, and there’s a lot of criminals out there, and those are crimes of opportunity.”

That’s why Chief Williams says prevention is so crucial.

Chief Williams says educating the public has been a major factor in these numbers of auto thefts dropping.

“We had mapping and research done on where more cars are being stolen from and where they were left,” Chief Williams says. “We did some patrol deployment and some focused patrol efforts in those areas.”

Outside city limits, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office also sees a decrease.

In the first three months of 2021, there were 44 auto thefts.

In the first three months of 2022, there were only 17.

However, Deputy Paige Rippee says catalytic converter thefts are rising in the county.

“People are going out into the county, more rural areas,” Deputy Rippee says. “Not as highly populated. Neighbors aren’t watching out because it could be farmhouses and stuff like that, so it’s just a different atmosphere, a different type of environment out in the county than it is in the city.”

But overall, thefts from motor vehicles are down.

From January to March of this year, there were 120 thefts from a vehicle in the county, including catalytic converters.

In 2021, that number was 174.

Deputy Rippee says officer presence plays a significant role in preventing these crimes.

“A lot of these crimes of opportunity actually happen during the overnight hours, so most of our overnight deputies are driving in subdivisions,” Deputy Rippee says. “They are making traffic stops, but whenever they don’t have calls for service in the wee hours of the morning, they’re driving through those subdivisions checking on vehicles that maybe look suspicious or people walking around neighborhoods.”

However, SPD counts theft from a motor vehicle and theft of motor vehicle parts separately.

Both saw a dramatic decrease compared to this time last year.

For thefts from a motor vehicle in 2021, there were 810 during the first three months of the year. In 2022, that number dropped to 473. That’s a 41.6% decrease within the last year.

For thefts of motor vehicle parts in 2021, there were 435 during the first three months of the year. In 2022, that number dropped to 191. That’s a 56.1% decrease.

The focus of SPD in the summer months is preventing those crimes of opportunity.

“Which is a problem all the time but higher in the summer months when there are more people out and about and doing things and maybe not keeping their stuff as secure as they should when they’re out at a park or at a trail or out shopping,” Chief Williams says.

The focus for this quarter is burglary.

In the first quarter of 2021, there were 445 reports of a burglary in Springfield. During that time this year, there were 289. That’s a 35.1% decrease.

Chief Williams says it’s essential to keep the community aware of how to protect their property.

“Making sure your doors and windows are locked,” Chief Williams says. “Make sure you have good secure locks. (You are) not letting people know when you’re out of town. This is a huge thing. It’s one of my pet peeves. When someone goes on vacation, and then they post everything all over Facebook while they’re gone.”

Chief Williams says the department recommends people wait to post until they’re back from a vacation.

“Then there are those historical things that people forget to do,” Chief Williams says. “Stop the mail. Stop the paper. Let your neighbors know where you’re going to be. You can call us and let us know you’re out of town. Lighting and making sure your property is secure when you’re gone.”

However, Chief Williams says there are also things to keep in mind when people leave for work.

“Forgetting to lock the back door after letting the dogs out or forgetting to close the garage door.”

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