Thou shalt not steal? Disobeying the eighth commandment remains the top criminal problem in Idaho County.
Statistics in the 2013 Crime in Idaho report, released earlier this year by the Idaho State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Identification, show larceny as the top offense for Idaho County: 103 incidents were reported last year, up from 80 reported in 2012.
Totaling reports from the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cottonwood and Grangeville police departments, simple assault was the second highest reported crime in 2013 at 92 incidents (71 reported in 2012), followed by vandalism (67; down by nine from 2012), burglary (60; up by 16) and drug equipment (27; down by two).
Overall for the three agencies a total 448 ISP-categorized “group A” offenses were reported in 2013, up 11.2 percent from the year prior, of which 41.7 (187) were cleared. In 2013, 388 arrests were reported, up 12.8 percent from the year prior, of which 342 were adults and 46 were juveniles.
Last year was the third lowest year for offenses within the five-year trend (2009-2013), the high at 533 in 2009 and the low at 403 in 2012. During that same period, 2013 was the second lowest for arrests; last year, 344 were made (low) and 625 in 2009 (high).
Other top offenses for Idaho County in 2013 were drug/narcotics (24), aggravated assault (19), fraud (16) and motor vehicle theft (11).
Breaking It Down
Idaho County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO)
Larceny was the top offense for ICSO with 59 reported in 2013, up by eight from the year prior. Next was vandalism at 48 reported (up six from 2012), simple assault at 44 (up nine), burglary at 43 (up 15) and drug equipment at 25 (down one).
For ICSO, 295 “group A” offenses were reported last year, up 11.3 percent from 2012, of which 46.1 percent (136) were cleared. Total arrests in 2013 was 276, down 8.9 percent from the year prior, of which 247 were adults and 29 juveniles.
Last year was the five-year offense high — the low being 250 in 2009 – while it was the five-year low for arrests with the high at 345 in 2010.
Grangeville Police Department (GPD)
Simple assault remains the top offense for GPD: 43 were reported last year, up eight from 2012. Second most reported offense for last year was larceny (37, up 18 from 2012), followed by burglary (17, up two), vandalism (16, down 11) and fraud (eight, up one).
“We don’t see much variation. It’s pretty much the normal things we see for a small rural area,” said Grangeville Police Chief Morgan Drew.
Addressing these issues involves ongoing patrol presence by officers, which includes some foot patrols, Morgan said, that while this decreases range it improves observation and detection. Patrols help with deterrence but they cannot prevent all such crimes as assault and vandalism, he said.
For crimes such as theft and burglary, Drew said, residents being proactive in simple security measures – securing home and vehicle doors and windows – works best for prevention.
“And all the officers on the force are looking out for this,” he said, “and they investigate them if and when they happen.”
In 2013, 134 offenses were reported to GPD, up 13.6 percent from the year prior, of which 45 (33.6 percent) were cleared. Last year, 98 arrests were made, up 226.7 percent from 2012, of which 85 were adults and 13 juveniles.
Offenses have been on the increase for the past three years, according to the five-year trend, from a low of 100 in 2011 and 118 in 2012. The high, 256, was reported in 2009. Also in 2009 was the high for arrests, 268, with the low of 30 reported in 2012.
Discussing the statistics, Drew noted number differences in such areas as case clearances and arrests – as compared within the five-year average – don’t accurately reflect trends due to errors in how statistics have been reported by the department into NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System), and also technical problems in 2012 where not all GPD’s data was received by the state.
Drew was hired in December 2011 and discovered these issues the following year. Last year, 2013, he said, statistics were accurately reported and should truly reflect the department’s case load and performance. And in two to three years, he added, the numbers will start giving a better idea of the crime trend.
Cottonwood Police Department (CPD)
Larceny was CPD’s top offense in 2013 with seven reported, down by three from the year prior. Next was simple assault (five, up by four), vandalism (three, down by four), fraud (two; none in 2012) and one each of aggravated assault and statutory rape (both zero in 2012).
“Assaults, fraud, statutory rape and aggravated assaults rising are concerning,” said Cottonwood Police Chief Terry Cochran, “as they would indicate an increased severity of the crimes that we have had. Even though these incidents are relatively low, they still happened. It is important that citizens be involved with what is going on in their communities, and to report any incidents that do happen.”
In 2013, 19 offenses were reported, down 5 percent from the year prior, of which six (31.6 percent) were cleared. Last year, 14 arrests were made, up 27.3 percent from 2012, of which 10 were adults and four juveniles.
Last year saw the five-year low for reported offenses, the high of 29 reported in 2011. For arrests, the high was 30 in 2009 and low was 11 in 2012.
According to Cochran, he sees the low as the possible result of increased citizen involvement in what’s going on within the community and reporting incidents, as well as the extra manpower of two part-time officers, Jason Rambo and Wes Walters.
“Increased presence has helped,” he said, “as well as Officer Rambo’s extensive work with the youth in the school, at sporting events, at community events and his party patrols throughout the area have resulted in a dramatic reduction of alcohol-related incidents in the Cottonwood area.”