Pine Bluff crime stats down despite increase in violent crime in November

Despite an increase in violent crimes during the month of November, overall crime in Pine Bluff declined for the 10th straight month, according to the police department’s monthly report.

There were a total of 447 crimes reported last month, compared to 623 in November 2012, a decrease of 28.25 percent.

For the year, overall crime is down 17.54 percent compared to 2012. That figure was just over a full percentage point above the figure for October (16.47 percent), a number Police Chief Jeff Hubanks was very pleased with.

“We’ve been able to sustain the decrease despite an increase in violent crime and that’s a reflection of the good work of our officers,” Hubanks said Tuesday during the monthly meeting of Coffee with the Chiefs, sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration and held at Pine Hill Baptist Church.

According to the report, there were 23 robberies reported in November, nine more than in November 2012. Hubanks declined comment on the robberies other than to say “we’re working on it.”

In terms of other crimes against persons, three were three rapes or attempted rapes reported last month, the same number as for November 2012. Aggravated assaults decreased from 34 in November 2012 to 25 last month, while simple assaults dropped from 173 in November 2012 to 138 last month.

Property crimes including commercial burglaries and thefts also decreased last month compared to a year earlier, with the department investigating 12 commercial burglaries in November, half as many as in November 2012. Reported thefts went down from 297 in November 2012 to 155 last month.

Reported motor vehicle thefts showed a slight increase over last year when there were 17 reported. For the month, 21 motor vehicles were reported stolen.

Residential burglaries also increased slightly, going from 60 in November 2012 to 67 last month.

The department investigated three homicides in November, that was two more than in November 2012, and have made arrests in all three of those slayings.

As he has in the past, Hubanks talked about the way crimes are now reported, saying that for “two decades, we did it wrong.”

Asked to explain how the reporting is different now, Hubanks used the example of a residential burglary, which could also result in a number of other crimes being committed, such as theft of property, breaking or entering, criminal mischief and criminal trespass, and previously, the department reported all those crimes, rather that what the federal standards required, and that is just the primary crime, which was a burglary.

Hubanks also distributed a report from the department’s Traffic Division showing officers investigated 62 accidents last month and issued 316 citations.

He said that increased traffic enforcement could result in a lower accident rate for the city, and an eventual decrease in automobile insurance premiums.