Reports of serious crime up 12% in 2010 in Springs; rape reports fall

April 19, 2011

Crime trends from recent years appeared to flip upside down last year, as reports of rape — which has long been a troublesome issue for Colorado Springs — were the only serious-crime reports to drop in 2010.

Reports of serious crime in the city rose 12 percent from 2009 to 2010, while the number of crimes solved dropped nearly four percentage points, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department’s annual report.

The spike brought an abrupt end to a steady drop in crime reports dating to 2007, as the Police Department noted increases last year in reports of:

• motor vehicle thefts, rising 21 percent to 1,269;

• homicides, which rose 18 percent in 2010, from 17 to 20;

• larceny and thefts, which increased 17 percent to 12,053;

• burglaries, increasing 4 percent to 3,452;

• robberies and aggravated assaults, which each rose less than one percent.

The statistics were based off of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's uniform crime-reporting system.

Reports of rape were the only reported serious crimes that dropped from 2009 to 2010, reversing an alarming rate for that crime that has plagued the city in recent years.

The city had 252 reported rapes in 2005, a figure that increased 36 percent the next four years. But in 2010, the department reported an 8 percent drop in the number of rapes from the previous year, ending at 314.

Detectives were able to solve more of this year’s rape cases, robberies and aggravated assaults than in 2009, the report revealed, But the clearance rate for murders and thefts was lower than the previous year.

Sgt. Steve Noblitt, police spokesman, said he couldn’t pinpoint a reason for the drop in reported rapes.

“We’d like to think it’s because we do a good job educating the community on when to report those types of crimes, and then creating an environment that makes it friendly and comfortable for people to report sexual assaults,” Noblitt said.

Overall, the department handled 1.5 percent fewer calls for help last year, logging 295,517 calls.

The number of traffic summonses handed out by patrol officers also slipped in 2010, falling 4 percent to 58,586.

Noblitt said he was particularly troubled by the 59 percent increase in the number of officers assaulted last year, when 46 such cases were logged. In 2009, 29 officers were assaulted.

“That’s a pretty alarming trend,” Noblitt said.

Call the writer at 476-1654.

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