DeKALB – The number of emergency calls to DeKalb police increased 11 percent last year, while the number of serious crimes dropped 6 percent and the number of less serious crimes increased 8 percent.
Chief Gene Lowery will present the department’s annual report to the DeKalb City Council and the public during the council’s meeting Tuesday. He chalked up many of the increased numbers to the proactive policing the department has been doing.
For example, Lowery pointed to the number of traffic citations alleging driving under the influence. In 2010, DeKalb officers issued 133 citations. In 2011, that number rose to 157. In 2012, it rose to 229.
“When I see an increase [like that], that’s police proactive activity,” Lowery said. “That could be random, but my experience is that we’re putting the police where we need to be.”
In 2012, DeKalb officers answered 40,908 calls for service, and 21,251 emergency calls, which Lowery said was challenging for his officers.
From 2011 to 2012, there was a 6 percent decrease in serious crimes, which includes reported homicides, robberies, criminal sexual assaults, and arsons. In 2010, there were 1,484 reported serious crimes, which increased in 2011 to 1,656 before dropping to 1,556 in 2012.
During the same time frame, there was an 8 percent increase in other offenses, which includes battery and various drug violations. In 2010, 8,817 of these offenses were reported. In 2011, that number dropped to 8,076, which then rose to 8,740 offenses in 2012.
One example of proactive policing are the sweeps officers did to see if registered sex offenders were staying in compliance with state law, Lowery said. In 2010 and 2011, DeKalb police reported seven violations. In 2012, through what Lowery described as unprecedented sweeps, officers reported 21 violations to registry law.
In addition to crime statistics, the report also highlights the department’s volunteer program. In 2012, police volunteers worked 2,485 hours, an estimated value of $125,000.
The department also had some personnel changes in 2012. Chief Bill Feithen and Lt. Gary Spangler both retired, and Lowery was hired. Three police officers also were promoted, and another officer was hired.
This year is shaping up to be a year of transition for the department as well. The report notes the implementation of the department’s new smartphone app iWatch DeKalb, which allows people to anonymously report crimes from their phone.
In February, the city hired Carl Leoni, a retired DeKalb police officer, as its crime-free housing coordinator. The position falls under the purview of the police department. Later this year, the department is expected to move into its new police station at 700 W. Lincoln Highway.
If you go
What: DeKalb City Council Meeting
When: Special joint City Council meeting with its Finance Committee at 6 p.m. Regular City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., DeKalb