County crime up 16% in 2012
Reported crime in Durham County outside the city limits rose 16 percent in 2012 over the previous year, according to figures from the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.
On the other hand, crime fell 16 percent in the five-year period from 2007 to 2012.
Crime was up in four of eight major crime categories from 2011 to 2012. They include robbery (from 13 to 18), assaults (from 36 to 55), burglary (from 358 to 378), and larceny (from 409 to 521).
Four rapes were reported in each of the two years.
Crime fell in three categories – murder (from three to two), motor vehicle theft (from 57 to 51) and arson (from three to two).
The total number of reported crimes in the eight major categories dipped from 883 in 2011 to 1,031 last year.
The value of property lost to crime was nearly the same – $2,069,844 in 2011 compared to $2,007,504 last year. The total value of property recovered was down from $510,424 (25 percent) to $458,076 (23 percent).
Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said the crime spike may have been caused, in part, by last year’s temperate weather and troubled economy.
“When so many people are struggling to provide for their families, I suspect some are driven to commit crimes that they normally would not have committed in better economic times,” Andrews said.
“The men and women of the Sheriff’s Office worked diligently in 2012 to detect and prevent crime and bring those who did commit crimes to justice,” he added. “But they can’t do it alone. The citizens of Durham County play an important role in crime prevention. I ask that they pick up the phone and call us when they see suspicious activity or if something just doesn’t look right. If it turns out that no crime was occurring, that’s great — but sometimes those calls lead to the arrest of a suspect.”
Andrews also said it’s important that citizens keep their property secured.
“Many criminals are looking for an easy opportunity to steal, and keeping doors and windows locked and valuables out of sight can greatly reduce the chance you will become a victim of crime,” he said. “Also remember to write down serial numbers of valuable property and store them in a safe location. When deputies are given the serial number of a stolen item, the chances that it will be eventually returned to the rightful owner is greatly increased.”