On Wednesday, Brunswick Police Chief Kevin Jones delivered a report to the city commission detailing the crime statistics for 2018.
The report was overall positive. There was a 2 percent decrease in serials crimes. That comes off the heels of a 9 percent jump in 2018. The rise in 2017 proceeded significant drops in the previous two years — 16 percent in 2016 and 25 percent in 2015.
Cumulatively, serious crimes have dropped 33 percent over the last four years.
“Hopefully, with that dip in crime last year we have brought it back under control,” Jones told The News.
There was a slight increase in violent crimes — homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault — with the rate rising up four percent. It is important to note that means eight more violent crimes from last year as the total went from 168 in 2017 to 176 in 2018.
While the violent crime did rise a whole, there was a significant drop in the murder and rape categories. There were only two murders in the city last year, compared to four in 2017 while the number of rapes were down from 10 in 2017 to four in 2018. There was a 13 percent rise in aggravated assaults from 112 in 2017 to 127 in 2018.
The number of property crimes remained virtually the same from 866 in 2017 to 865 in 2018.
While the decrease in serious crimes wasn’t massive, the stats are evidence that crime as a whole in Brunswick is trending in the right direction. Yes, there are some areas that are up — the number of vehicle thefts rose from 44 in 2017 to 59 and larceny was also up 12 percent — but there is progress being made to rid the city of the elements that have given it a bad name in previous years.
The help of citizens is part of the reason the numbers have been improving. Jones cited a recent spate of burglaries as an example of how cooperation between residents and police can lead to an arrest.
“We had a group of citizens from the south end come down and talk to us about some thefts down there,” Jones said. “We had already developed a suspect, but they helped us focus on that area, and we were able to make an arrest.”
Jones said city police also redoubled their efforts to address the street gang problem in the city. Gang activity can affect every level of a crime rate. Jones said the cooperation of citizens has helped police address that kind of activity, which in turn helped lower the crime rate.
The image of lawlessness that in many ways still dogs Brunswick should be in the past. City police officers should be proud of their work to reduce crime in the city. The numbers show that they are making a difference in our community.