Report: Overall crime down 16 percent, sex assaults climb

In News by Reporter News

Overall crime in Friendswood dropped 16 percent compared to the prior year, according to the Friendswood Police Department annual crime report for 2014.

However, the city’s 21 incidents of violent crime represent an increase over the prior year, largely due to reported incidences of sexual assault – 10 in 2014, up from 2 in 2013. In 9 or these 10 cases, the report states, the suspect was a family member or known to the victim. Seven of the cases involved children.

Having recently made a ranking of “Safest Cities in the U.S.” again, Friendswood’s overall crime rate is at a low. The 2014 crime rate was 9.26 crimes per 1,000 residents, compared to 11.03 reported in 2013. In 2011, the crime rate was at a low of 9.36, rising slightly to 9.86 in 2012, then again in 2013 to 11.03.

According to the FBI, eight offenses make up the Crime Index: Murder, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, theft, and vehicle theft. This index serves as an indicator of the nation’s crime experience, the FBI reports. In Friendswood in 2014, 21 “crimes against persons” were reported.

Reported robberies remained steady at four in 2014, and aggravated assaults increased from 5 in 2013 to 7 in 2014. Friendswood has not experienced a homicide since 2008.

“Crimes against property” including burglary, theft, car theft and arson. Friendswood experienced an 18 percent decrease in these incidents compared to 419 in 2013. Burglaries dropped from 89 in 2013 to 70 in 2014. Thefts also decreased from 311 in 2013 to 249 in 2014. Motor vehicle theft and arson categories increased by 2 incidents each.

The report also states 71 percent of the arrest activity involves suspects from outside the city – a statistic the department says highlights one of the major challenges for the community.

“This statistic highlights major areas of concern for the community: Organized criminal activity in the region, the number of repeat offenders being released from prison, an increase in population/mobility through the city and finally, the large amount of illegal drug-related activity in the greater Houston area,” the report states.

Arrests remained steady in 2014, with 1,572 adult arrests and 24 juvenile arrests. Eighteen percent of arrests in 2014 listed residency in Houston. Ten percent were residents of Alvin.

Approximately 1 out of 5 arrests, or 22 percent, were for narcotic-related offenses. After a noteworthy decline in narcotic arrests in 2013, narcotic arrests increased 15 percent in 2014. The most commonly confiscated substances, according to the report, were marijuana and methamphetamine. According to data published by Federal authorities, methamphetamine is considered the No. 1 drug threat in the Houston area.

According to the 2014 report, FM 528 is the corridor logging the highest percentage of vehicle crashes – 35 percent.

The number of crashes remained constant – 496 in 2014 compared to 497 in 2013. Injury accidents decreased 9 percent.

There was one traffic fatality, the report states, involving a teen-aged high school student in a single-vehicle crash on FM 528 one year ago.

Farm-to-market roadways are the most frequent crash locations, accounting for 69 percent of crashes. Targeted enforcement has been employed on these roadways, police said.

The most common complaint received from residents involves traffic issues such as speeding, reckless driving and crashes.

Friendswood Animal Control achieved a 90 percent live release rate in 2014.

Of the 886 animals impounded in 2014, 90 percent were adopted, turned over to rescue organizations or returned to owners.

This number does not include wildlife or animals that died due to sickness or medical condition.

In 2014, animal control calls for service were down 24 percent – 1,910 in 2013 compared to 1,443 in 2014.

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