Crime rate drops in Janesville
Serious crimes—homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, theft and arson—were down 24 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, Chief Dave Moore said.
Legally intercepted phone calls indicate gang members are warning others about coming to Janesville, he said.
“I credit the work of the officers,” Moore said. “We have officers that are committed.”
Nationwide, the crime rate is down, despite the assumption that the recession would lead to more crime.
An aging population, the arrests of career criminals, the end of the crack cocaine epidemic and improved police tactics have helped reduce the crime rate, Moore said.
In Janesville, the street crimes unit has focused on reducing drug and gang crimes, he said. The police department’s decision to put all its resources into major crime investigations also has paid off.
Sgt. Jim Holford, leader of the street crimes unit, said drug and gang investigators have done their part to reduce crime.
They meet with parents, schools and neighborhood residents to tackle criminal behavior, he said.
“We deal with a problem when it comes up, and hopefully we solve it,” Holford said.
The community’s cooperation has helped police, he said.
Busting drug houses also helps prevent related crimes, he said.
The crime rate in Janesville in the past six years has been down an average of 16 percent compared to the previous six years.
Last year’s 24 percent drop was likely an aberration, Moore said.
“To expect a year with another 24 percent drop in the crime rate is probably asking for an awful lot,” he said.
A reduced crime rate is rewarding to officers, Moore said.
The drop, however, cost the department a $138,000 state grant used to pay officers’ salaries, he said. The grant was based on the crime rate.