Public doing its part to fight crime |

Public doing its part to fight crime

by staff

The news this week was heartening from the FBI: Douglas County recorded a big jump in the number of criminal cases it “clears,” or closes by arrest, paid restitution or false report.

According to DCSO Sheriff Ron Pierini, the increase in the clearance rate from 13.7 percent in 1997 to 24.9 percent in 1998 is due to several factors including better management of cases by patrol deputies and increased communication between the investigation and records division.

Crimes monitored by the FBI include murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson. While the rate of serious crime is dropping, Douglas deputies are answering more calls, from 32,974 in 1997 to 36,943 in 1998. Based on our population, that’s one call per man, woman and child who lives in Douglas County.

The increased number of calls has Pierini making a call of his own – for five more deputies. He’s applied for the last of federal funds available under the Community-Oriented Policing (COPS) program, which has been very successful in Douglas County.

A jump has been reported in arrests for domestic violence and driving under the influence. One reason for the increase is that more people are reporting these crimes when they occur. Who knew the cellular telephone would prove to be such an effective crime fighter as more and more people report erratic driving they witness on the road?

Heightened awareness is responsible for an increase in reports of domestic violence. That number is expected to go even higher when Douglas County opens its shelter for victims of such offenses and their children. More women are likely to leave a dangerous situation when they know there is a safe place for them and their families.

That doesn’t negate the sad fact, however, that domestic violence and driving under the influence continue to plague our county just like every other community in America.