Reported crime in Pine Bluff increases in May

Total reported crimes in Pine Bluff were up last month, compared with the month before, and Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said the warmer weather contributed to that increase.

Speaking Monday to the Pine Bluff City Council’s Public Safety Committee, Hubanks also predicted an increase in June, particularly in burglaries.

“They will probably go up in June, then go down in September,” Hubanks said.

For the month of May, there were 93 residential burglaries reported in the city, 21 more than in April. While residential burglaries went up, commercial burglaries declined from 19 in April to 11 in May.

Reported thefts increased from 180 in April to 219 in May, while auto thefts dropped from 24 to 23.

“Maybe at some point we’re going to get the attention of the insurance companies and get off this pedestal of being the auto theft king of Arkansas so that we can get better insurance rates,” Hubanks said.

To further that point, Hubanks provided statistics indicating that motor vehicle accidents for the first five months of 2013 dropped from the same period of time a year ago.

Complaints against officers also decreased from 14 during the first five months in 2012 to 11 for the same period this year. According to a memorandum from Lt. Edna Butler of the Department’s Office of Professional Standards, eight of the complaints against officers so far this year were filed in May, while four of the 14 filed against officers through the first five months of 2012 were also in May.

“Our calls for service are up and our complaints against officers are down,” Hubanks said.

Patrol Division statistics showed 4,072 calls for service in May, and so far this year, there have been 19,579 calls for service, which includes all calls dispatched by radio operators, as well as from other sources.

Hubanks also talked about the three homicides last month, particularly the death of Corey Jones, an infant who died May 9 at 10 Richard Court. His father, Ivory Jones, has been arrested on probable cause of first-degree murder pending the filing of formal charges.

“Detective Jerry Lambert did a masterful job of interviewing the suspect and getting a confession (in the Jones case),” Hubanks said. “That was a textbook example of what a detective is supposed to do.”

He also talked about the most recent homicide, that of Carol Baker on May 27. Three suspects are in custody and police are continuing their search for a fourth suspect, Samuel Kimmons.

“We are going to hound Samuel Kimmons until he is in custody and we’re not going to stray from that,” Hubanks said, going on to explain that the department SWAT team served several search warrants Saturday looking for Kimmons.

“We’re going to hunt him literally into the ground,” Hubanks said.

Of the eight homicides in Pine Bluff so far this year, police have made arrests or cleared seven.

“Our detectives are the best in the state because they’ve got way too much practice,” Hubanks said.

“In a town this size we should be having three or four homicides a year so our numbers are way too high,” he said. “We’re going to continue to solve those homicides until we can get the formula to knock the numbers down to where they should be.”

Other crimes against persons numbers from May included five rapes or attempted rapes, one more than was reported in April; seven robberies last month compared with 10 in April; 35 aggravated assaults in May, one fewer than in April; and 182 simple assaults, 13 more than in April.