Reported crime in Pine Bluff drops despite increase in robberies

Despite a significant increase in reported robberies in June, overall crime in Pine Bluff continued to decline when compared to a year ago, according to the monthly report from the Pine Bluff Police Department.

Through the first six months of this year, reported crime was down 17.94 percent as there have been 565 fewer incidents reported than there were in the first six months of 2013.

Speaking Tuesday at the monthly Coffee with the Chiefs program, sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration, Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said of some of the reported robberies, “some guys owed money to some other guys who collected that money, but in other cases, some guys entered stores with masks and guns and that’s bold.”

For the month of June, there were 23 robberies reported compared to nine in June 2013. For the two-month period of May and June of this year, there have been 55 robberies reported, compared to 16 for the same period a year ago.

Hubanks said a large number of the reported robbery cases have resulted in arrests, and prosecutors cooperated by asking for and getting high bonds for the suspects.

“When bad things happen, our guys are really going to work until they catch the bad guys,” he said. “If they get a lead, they’re going to work that lead and they refuse to go home until that they run that lead out.”

Hubanks said the department also checks incident reports and those are down compared to a year ago.

As a byproduct of that, Hubanks said records from Pine Bluff District Court showed that the court had taken in significantly less money for the first few months of this year than they did last year, about $200,000 less.

He said an audit of the court records indicated that it was collecting less money because “there were fewer crimes, and fewer fines.”

There have been eight reported murders so far this year, one less than at the same time a year ago, and police have made arrests in seven of the eight.

Looking at other numbers from the June crime statistics report, there were two reported rapes last month, three less than in June 2013.

Aggravated assaults dropped from 41 a year ago to 37, while simple assaults also decreased, going from 167 in June 2013 to 151 last month.

In terms of crimes against property, there were 20 commercial burglaries reported in June, seven more than for the same month last year, and residential burglaries increased by two, from 86 to 88.

Reported thefts dropped from 191 in June 2013 to 163 last month, while reported auto thefts increased from 14 a year ago to 17 last month.