Salisbury Police see 2011 crime increase, murders decrease

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 24, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
The Salisbury Police department has seen an overall increase in crime in the first half of 2011, despite zero murders.
According to a statistics report from Salisbury Police, the department has had 373 more larceny charges from Jan. 1 to Jun. 30 than authorities had in the same 2010 time frame.
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins said the rise in larcenies can be attributed to the cost of metal.
“We have experienced a great deal of metal thefts,” Collins said. “Those are classified as larcenies in our reporting.”
Collins said copper thefts have not been targeted to one specific area, but the police department has located suspects after discovering patterns.
“Whenever we see a pattern of some sort, we use that intelligence to design a project to help catch those suspects,” Collins said.
The department has had an almost 20 percent overall crime increase compared to last year, with 2,054 offenses since January. But the department has not recorded a murder so far in 2011. In 2010, there were four murders by the end of June.
“The most significant offenses like murders, assaults and personal attacks are actually down,” Collins said. “We want to protect people and property, but I think it’s a good day when we keep people from getting hurt as best we can.”
Collins said he’s “thrilled” to have had zero murders this year and that he hopes it remains.
“We’ve been very fortunate so far this year in that we’ve had none,” Collins said. “Last year we had four. We’re glad to have had that reduction.”
Authorities have recorded 202 burglaries this year, an increase of 44 from last year’s second-quarter statistics.
Vandalism incidents have dropped more than 25 percent in 2011, with 54 fewer cases than in 2010.
“This might be hard to believe for some people who have recently been victimized, but I would attribute that to much less graffiti tagging,” Collins said.
Collins said recent graffiti tags may give the illusion that vandalism is up, but the numbers speak for themselves.
“Recently we did have a rash of it, so some people will probably think I’m saying something inaccurate here,” he said.
Collins said the decrease in vandalism may be a result of a department reorganization that he led earlier this year. Collins also ordered the construction of the P.I.T. team as part of the department’s change.
“In March of this year, we implemented a reorganization in the department,” he said. “The P.I.T. team, police interdiction team, is a team of officers who almost everyday are being extremely aggressive in gang and street crime activity.”
Collins said the community’s involvement has played a large role in helping decrease vandalism.
“ I give credit to the communities that call us when they see something that’s not right,” he said.