Overall crime in the city of Sumter is continuing to trend downward and has dropped by more than a third in the past six years, Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark said Tuesday night as he presented his department’s annual report to Sumter City Council.
Arrests for the department are also down 29 percent during the past three years, Roark told council members, saying the efforts of the Sumter Police Department in community outreach, analytics and education appear to be aiding the drop in crime.
Figures from the report’s telecommunications section, which indicates calls made by citizens regarding potential issues for the Sumter Police Department to address dropped by more than nine percent last year, seem to support these efforts.
The downward trend figures for 2016 actually closely resemble the trend for 2015’s report. Last year, SPD reports overall crime incidents dropped by 4.5 percent. In 2015, crime dropped by roughly 4 percent.
The two notable exceptions to the downward trend in the 2016 figures are in aggravated assault and general larceny cases, which climbed 8.4 percent and 18.1 percent respectively. In both categories, the increases erased reported drops from previous year, returning to 2014 crime levels.
In addition, Sumter residents are still seeing a dramatic increase in automobile burglaries, which climbed another 5.4 percent in 2016. During the two years, the number of car break-ins reported in the city have increased by more than 30 percent.
During last year’s report to council, Roark highlighted the dramatic increase in vehicle break-ins, pointing out, “As a community, we have a bad habit of not locking our cars.”
Sumter is getting better, however, in keeping their car from being outright stolen. According to the figures released Tuesday, auto thefts in the city dropped by more than 21 percent, and are down nearly 30 percent during the past two years.
Both burglaries (down 20 percent) and robberies (down nearly 25 percent) experienced significant drops, as well.
The entire 2016 annual report from the Sumter Police Department, as well as the reports from 2014 and 2015, can be found at their website by following this link.