8 Investigates: Jonesboro Crime Numbers

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Officials with the Jonesboro Police Department say they track crime trends weekly.  While the department saw a drop in some crimes, another trend is concerning police.

"Without even looking at the numbers, for us, it was obvious that there had been a tremendous spike in these (armed) robberies," said Captain Lynn Waterworth with the Jonesboro Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division.

From January to April of 2013, Jonesboro Police dealt with 17 aggravated robberies in the city.  "You're talking about a violent crime against an individual, that's something we take very seriously," said Waterworth.

Region 8 News pulled the aggravated robbery numbers from January to April for the past 3 years:

  • January- April 2011: 6
  • January- April 2012: 5
  • January- April 2013: 17

As you can see, the number more than doubled for 2013.

"We immediately took steps to try to increase patrols in certain areas where we felt another crime might occur," said Watetworth.

She says the investigation shows that certain businesses could be more vulnerable.  "They are going to look somewhere that's easy to get into and easy to get out off.  Any of those crimes like that, that are a violent crime against a person, gives them a certain feeling of power," said Waterworth.

Even with the armed robbery spike, Waterworth says the department has solved 70% of the aggravated robbery cases, which is above average.  She attributes a large portion of that to community involvement.

"They have been making phone calls.  They've been taking steps to keep themselves and their neighbors safe in their community.  We want everybody to keep making those phone calls," said Waterworth.

It's that type of community policing that helped to show improvements in other types crimes.  "Residential burglaries and vehicle break-ins are actually down compared to last year about 25%," said Waterworth.

From our research, there were 204 home burglaries up to this point last year.  This year we calculated 131 which definitely is an improvement.  Waterworth says the Criminal Analysis Division provides officers with weekly crime reports that act as a great tool.

"I think it's help significantly, I see the officers not only looking at the maps but trying to incorporate the map into any kind of specialize assignments," said Waterworth.

Waterworth did mention when there's a spike in any crime.  It can sometimes be connected to just one or two criminals.  Once police make an arrest the numbers typically level off.

Police always appreciate the help from the public.  You can always call crimestoppers at 935-STOP.

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