Despite three homicides last month, overall reported crime in Pine Bluff dropped slightly less than 2 percent when compared to March 2011 statistics, according to the monthly report prepared by the police department.
There were a total of 441 crimes reported during the month, eight less than were reported in March 2011 — a decline of 1.78 percent.
For the first quarter of the year, department figures show that reported crimes have declined 7.62 percent compared to the same period last year.
Looking at specific categories, there have been five homicides reported in Pine Bluff so far this year, compared to one last year at this time.
Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones told members of the city council’s Public Safety Committee on Monday that while one of the homicides reported so far this year was ruled justified, three of the other four “resulted from domestic violence.”
Homicides reported so far this year were:
• Tommy Holcomb Sr., 60, on Jan. 11. Ruled justified by prosecutors.
• Christopher Patillo, 28, on Jan. 19. Under investigation.
• Quinshun Parks, 12, on March 10. A 14-year-boy is being charged as a juvenile. Were he an adult, the charge would be manslaughter.
•Tarance Lamar Franklin, 26, on March 17. Under investigation.
• Shirley Owney, 39, on March 23. Kevin McMiller, 20, arrested, held probable cause capital murder.
“I’ve preached about domestic violence being at the core of our problems for two years,” Davis-Jones said. “We know what the problem is. The problem is how do we fix the problem.”
Aggravated assaults increased from 38 in March 2011 to 44 last month, while rapes and reported rapes went from three in March 2011 to four in March 2012 and robberies declined from six a year ago during March to five last month. There were 15 more simple assaults reported last month (135) than in March 2011 (120).
In the category of crimes against property, reported burglaries dropped from 119 in March 2011 to 97 last month, while reported thefts dropped from 151 to 142 and motor vehicle thefts went down from 12 to 10.