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St. Peters annual crime report shows a safer city overall

Crime continues to drop in St. Peters, mirroring a trend throughout the country in the last two decades, according to St. Peters Police Chief Jeff Finkelstein.

That drop in crime is documented in the St. Peters Police Department’s 2014 annual report, released by the city this spring. So-called “part-one” crimes – homicide, manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson – were down 15 percent in 2014, compared to 2013.

“The decline is mostly due to community involvement with the police departments,” Finkelstein said in an email responding to questions about the report. “In order to truly enforce crime in our city, we need the trust and participation of our citizens, business owners and visitors, which I believe we have a strong connection with.”

According to police statistics, the city had no criminal homicides in 2014 and hasn’t recorded one since 2011. There were 441 assaults in 2014, down from 556 the year before. Recorded burglaries were significantly down with 92 recorded, compared to 134 in 2013. Larceny also experienced a significant drop with 964 – lower than any year since 2011.

Categories on the rise included 14 robberies last year, compared to 10 the year before; 35 motor vehicle thefts in 2014, compared to 27 in 2013; and 16 rapes, compared to seven in 2013. However, rape totals doubled because the FBI changed the definition of rape, which includes more types of sexual offenses than previously, the report states.

In all, 2,641 incidents were reported to police last year, down from 2,907 in 2013.

Finkelstein said there are times when certain kinds of crime increase but often without solid explanations. For example, motor vehicle theft rings may be active, then disappear, he said.

Finkelstein said his department follows crime trends and has a great working relationship with surrounding communities. He said police don’t generally see much of a correlation to the economy and crime statistics.

Traffic accidents and injuries from accidents also were down last year. In 2014, 873 motor vehicle accidents and 241 injuries were recorded, compared to 1,014 accidents and 292 injuries in 2013. Those accidents and injuries stand in sharp contrast to 2004, when 1,407 accidents were recorded with 409 injuries. Finkelstein said there have not been major traffic enforcement changes.

“We do participate in state grant opportunities which encourages officers to focus on particular issues such as seat belt usage, speeding and driving while intoxicated, which are the top reasons for injuries and deaths in motor vehicle accidents in the state of Missouri,” Finkelstein said.

Arrests also are down with 1,988 adult arrests in 2014, down from 2,224 in 2013.  Juvenile arrests were down to 425 last year, compared to 520 in 2013.

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