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Digging deeper into September’s crime numbers

Decaturish updates

Digging deeper into September’s crime numbers


Whenever I see a spike in crime rates, I always wonder if there’s any pattern at work.

As I mentioned a few days ago, Sgt. Jennifer Ross with Decatur PD reported the numbers for entering autos and burglaries for the last few months. Here’s the month-to-month from August to September.

Reported Burglaries                   Reported Entering Autos

August:           11                                                9

September:    17                                               33

The increase is worrisome, but it makes me wonder if there’s more to the story. Are the crimes occurring around big events, like the Book Festival? Are they occurring more often at certain times of day, or in certain parts of the city?

I asked Ross this and she provided additional info, which I’ve reprinted here. She said there’s no obvious similarity between the crimes.

“I cannot find anything that appears to be related to any event,” Ross said. “We actually keep a Decatur event calendar updated for the officers so they know when and where we will have concentrated vehicle and pedestrian traffic because that equals more potential victims.”

Here are Ross’ stats.

September 2013 Entering  Auto Cases

Dates cases were reported in September

1st -1

3rd -1

7th – 2

11th– 2

14th -1

17th -1




21st -2








Quadrant. (Note: the city Police Department divides its boundary map into four directional quadrants: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast.)

NW – 16

NE – 4

SW – 8

SE – 5

How they got in

Forced (broken windows) –21

Unsecured – 11

Key used – 1 (key stolen from bag in unsecured locker at a gym then apparently used to enter the vehicle)

Time of the crime

Overnight hours – 22

Daytime/Early Evening – 11

Business or residences?

Residential – 24

Business or parking deck – 9

Types of items stolen

laptops/tablets, iPod, wallets & purses, jewelry, cash, binder, camera, satellite radio, medication, backpacks, sunglasses, medical supplies, credit cards, portable DVD player

In 6 cases, nothing was stolen

Other notable information

–          In one case a witness saw a male (late teens to early 20’s) with a flashlight looking into her vehicle at 1:55 am and confronted him and he fled. Officers located an entered vehicle in the same area.

–          In one case an unsecured firearm was not taken from inside of an entered vehicle.

–          In two cases, the vehicles steering columns were damaged indicating an attempted theft of the vehicle.

–          In one case, an entered vehicle was filled with tools from a carport shed that had been broken into at the residence and the steering column of the vehicle was broken.

–          In one case in the SW zone the homeowner had video showing two males arriving in a white sedan and looking into vehicles with flashlights at1:28 am.  On the same night at 2:53 am, a resident in the NW zone reported seeing a white sedan pull up in front of his residence and seeing two males (one carrying a crowbar) looking into a neighbor’s vehicle.  Officers located one entered vehicle in the area.

–          In one case a witness reported seeing two males enter a vehicle and attempt to steal it at 4:35 pm.

–          In one case a neighbor had video showing two subjects entering the vehicle and then leaving the area on foot.

–          Three of the cases occurred on East Parkwood Road on three different dates throughout the month.

September 2013 Burglary Cases

 Dates cases were reported in September















NW – 2

NE – 5

SW – 4

SE – 6

Time of the crime

Residential daytime – 3

Residential overnight – 3

(Editor’s note: Now that I’m looking at this closer, I am not entirely sure why there are only six crimes burglaries out of the 17 reported. Could be that the investigators simply aren’t sure when it happened. I’ll ask for more clarification on this. OK, got some clarification from Sgt. Ross. Additional info in bold on the non-residential stats.)

Non-residential burglaries

Business – 2 (overnight)

Garage/Shed/Porch/Crawl Space- 6 (1 case had two month time frame, 2 cases were over a three day time frame, 2 cases were overnight, 1 case was a five minute time frame)

Construction site – 2 (overnight)

Hotel room – 1 (overnight)

Other notable information

–          In three cases, copper was stolen from a construction/renovation site

–          In three cases, bicycles were taken from a garage, enclosed porch and storage area

–          In two cases, tools were stolen from sheds

–          In one case, electronics were stolen from a safe at a locked business

–          In one case, items were missing from a business with no signs of forced entry and numerous staff members have access

–          One overnight residential burglary was an attempt where a window was opened from the outside and triggered the alarm, no entry was made

–          In one case, the complainant reported he fell asleep in his hotel room and four dollars was missing from his wallet when he woke up