LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Violent crime is down by four percent in Little Rock, according to Little Rock Police, but are you actually safer this year compared to last?
THV 11 decided to look deeper into the crime stats for Little Rock. After stacking up the stats from 2011 from the first three quarters to this year, overall crime went up 2.5 percent.
"Our violent crime numbers are down almost four percent, property crime is up four percent, so it's really driving our numbers at this point," said City Manager, Bruce Moore.
Moore said he has full confidence the police department is heading in the right direction.
Looking discretely into the violent crime numbers so far, homicide is up nearly 60 percent-with 22 at this date last year and 35 so far this year. Rape is down 21 percent from 119 to 94. Aggravated assault saw the most drop off in the number of crimes with a decrease of near 10 percent; 1,866 last year and 1682 so far this year. Individual robberies saw the most substantial increase of 25 percent.
"Really the up-tick is in the Northwest division, some increase... slight increase downtown and southwest also," said Moore.
Moore attributes an upward swing in crime to the economic recession and a lack of funding for officers.
Currently there are more than 50 vacancies in the police department- a problem Moore said will be addressed over the next year.
"We have 32 new officers that graduate December the 7th, and we start the second class of this year December 10th, when we're going to be looking for about 30-40 more...then we'll have another class in June," said Moore.
Moore hopes the additions will help the city combat attrition and an economic lull and get the department back to the typical 25 vacancies. Moore said despite increases in certain areas, the city is on the right track.
"...More officers on the street, better technology from a communication standpoint and our fleet. In addition, we have two new police substations coming online. The midtown police substation should get started early next year. We're very close on finalizing a location for our Northwest precinct," said Moore.
The Northwest portion of the city, which begins at University and stretches out west to Highway 10, saw the greatest increase in overall crime at seven percent.