Twin Cities Crime Reaches Highest Levels in Years; Rural Violence Falls

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    Violent crime in Lewis County ticked slightly higher last year while property crime surged by nearly 20 percent, according to a crime report by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

    For the 2,909 crimes reported across the county in 2010, 175 were violent and 2,734 were crimes against property.

    Within those violent-crime numbers, robberies rose by 10 percent, aggravated assaults rose by 10 percent; meanwhile, rapes dropped by 35 percent.

    And there were six murders in 2010 for a 200 percent increase, compared to two murders in 2009.

    For property-crime numbers, burglaries rose by nearly 20 percent, larcenies rose by 27 percent, motor-vehicle theft rose by 7 percent; meanwhile, arson dropped by 50 percent with 12 cases.

    There were 2,386 crimes reported across the county in 2009.

    Interestingly, under the sheriff’s office jurisdiction, violent crime dropped by more than 18 percent while property crime rose by just 1 percent.

    “It actually looks pretty impressive,” Sheriff Steve Mansfield said of the number of reported incidents across unincorporated areas.

    But the report paints a different picture in the Twin Cities. 

    In early February, Chief Bob Berg of Centralia police issued a preliminary report of crime surging “at disturbing levels” in 2010 compared to 2009, increasing by 41 percent.

    Within the 1,220 incidents of crime taking place in Centralia, 44 percent were property crime and 14 percent were violent crime.

    Within those violent-crime numbers, 11 were rapes, 13 were robberies and 69 were aggravated assaults — there were no murders in the city.

    Within those property-crime numbers, eight were arsons, 212 were burglaries, 842 were larcenies and 65 were motor-vehicle thefts. 

    At the time, Berg attributed the rise in crime to the state of a depressed economy and the release of certain criminals from jail.

    Chehalis experienced a 27 percent increase in crime, with 742 incidents in 2010. And while Chief Glenn Schaffer said arrests had nearly doubled, there were no particular incidents or trends he could point to that would account for the rise in crime, adding that annual crime numbers are “completely unpredictable.”

    In fact, Schaffer said police expected crime to increase in 2009 because of the sour economy, “but it actually went the opposite way.” 

    For 2010, Chehalis reported 25 incidents of violent crime, with six rapes, three robberies, and 16 aggravated assaults — there were no murders.

    For property crime, Chehalis reported two arsons, 97 burglaries, 579 larcenies and 39 motor-vehicle thefts.    

    Morton police reported a 35-percent downtick of crime with 45 incidents, two of which were violent — one rape and one aggravated assault — and 43 were property crimes.

    Mossyrock police reported no change in crime numbers with 18 incidents, three of those being violent — one rape and one aggravated assault.

    Napavine, which did not report in 2009, reported 49 property crimes and no violent crimes.  

    Toledo reported a 100 percent increase in crime with 20 incidents; two being violent — robbery and aggravated assault.

    Winlock reported no change in crime, with 36 incidents, two of which were violent — aggravated assaults.

    Both Pe Ell and Vader did not report crime numbers last year.

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    Adam Pearson: (360) 807-8208

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