Lee’s Summit again went another year without a homicide, and according to crime statistics from the city’s police department, most violent crimes are either trending down or staying flat.
2012 was the second consecutive year that a murder did not occur in Lee’s Summit after two such occurrences in 2010.
“Another year without a murder and that’s great,” Lee’s Summit Police Chief Joe Piccinini said Jan. 30 in an exclusive sit-down interview with the Journal. “When we do have a murder in Lee’s Summit it is usually domestic violence related, and those are so difficult to prevent, difficult to forecast.”
Although numbers show that aggravated assaults increased in 2012 to 21 from 16 in 2011 and 9 in 2010, Piccinini said all but six of the incidents in 2012 were cleared – meaning an arrest was made by the department.
“We made 11 arrests of that total of 21 and on four other ones we knew who the suspect was but the victim declined to file charges,” Piccinini said. “So, that’s 15 of what we called exceptionally cleared, which leaves six that we were unable to make an arrest on or develop enough evidence to file charges.”
Other violent crimes such as arson, residential burglary, forcible rape or sodomy, robbery and other sexual-related offenses were all down in 2012 compared to the previous year; however business burglaries were up slightly in 2012.
The department, which counts 142 sworn officers and 67 civilian employees among its rank and expanded from 7 police districts to 10 in 2012, reported 53 incidents of burglarized businesses last year as opposed to 45 in 2011. In 2010, 65 businesses reported being burglarized.
“We had a great year in 2011 with business burglaries,” Piccinini said. “They went up in ’12, but back in 2010 they were at 65.”
Non-violent crimes such as assault (common and domestic) were down in 2012, as were fraudulent use of a credit card, harassment, identity theft and liquor law violations. Non-violent crimes on the uptick included bomb threats (six in 2012; two in 2011), death investigations (79; 76), forgery (131;106) mother vehicle thefts, which slightly grew from 136 in 2011 to 138 last year, and narcotic violations, which grew from 745 in 2011 to 960 in 2012.
“The (narcotics violations) are up a fairly large amount,” Piccinini said. “We have yet to do an analysis of how many, how much, and what kind. We have a pretty good indication that we are just seeing more drugs on the street and mainly what we are seeing is marijuana.
“I talk to patrolmen who are working everyday and they say when they stop somebody more often than not they are finding drugs and more often than not those drugs are marijuana. So we are just seeing more drugs on the streets and the drug is marijuana, and the statistics are bearing it out.”