Cassville crime reports decrease

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Felony assaults, burglaries rise in 2014 compared to 2013

Even though crime decreased slightly in Cassville, reported felony assaults and burglaries increased in the city, according to the Cassville Police Department.

In 2013, Cassville saw a total of 3,734 reports to the department, dropping to 3,682 reports in 2014, a 1.39 percent decrease. In 2013, the city had 68 reported felony assaults and 20 reported burglaries, jumping to 82 reported felony assaults and 25 reported burglaries in 2014.

2013 had more reports than 2014 because the department generated case numbers for extra patrols in April 2013, said Cpl. Donald Privett, who handles the department's statistics.

"Burglaries and felony assaults vary from month to month and year to year, and there is no real consistent factor," Privett said. "Most burglaries you can attribute to drugs and substance abuse and also crimes of opportunity. Advice I can give on [preventing] burglaries is, always lock your residence and out buildings, and always lock and never leave your keys unattended in your vehicle."

Privett said the one report of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer stood out for him in 2014, as Jonathan Gerster-Thomas, 25, of Cassville, allegedly assaulted Privett with a pipe, forcing Privett to use lethal force. After a nearly two-month investigation, former Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox did not file charges, ruling Privett was justified in his use of force.

In 2013, Cassville police made 378 arrests, dropping to 368 arrests in 2014.

"That arrest number does not mean they were actually put in handcuffs and actually taken to the jail," Privett said. "That arrest means if they were issued a ticket that has to be counted through [Uniform Crime Reporting]."

An officer could have processed, then released or jailed the suspect, depending on the criminal incident. In 2013, Cassville police had 902 tickets or charges submitted to the Barry County Prosector Attorney's Office, falling to 691 tickets or charges in 2014.

In 2013, the city had two reported robberies, 236 reported larcenies and six reported motor vehicle thefts, dropping to one reported robbery, 194 reported larcenies and one reported motor vehicle theft in 2014. A reported second-degree arson occurred in 2014, while 2013 had no reported arsons.

In 2013, the city had four reports of child abuse and one report of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, compared with three reports of child abuse, two reports of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, two reports of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and one report of first-degree child molestation in 2014.

In 2013, the city had two reports of third-degree sexual misconduct, one report of sodomy, one report of second-degree statutory rape and one report of second-degree statutory sodomy, compared with one report of rape, three reports of sexual abuse and one report of second-degree statutory sodomy in 2014.

In 2013, the city had three reports of promoting child pornography and one report of promoting a sexual performance by a child compared with no reported incidents under both criminal categories in 2014.

In 2013, the city assisted outside agencies 317 times, declining to 158 times in 2014.

"We will go as far as reasonably necessary," Privett said.

In 2013, Cassville police made 723 traffic stops, jumping to 841 traffic stops in 2014.

Last year, the Cassville police drove 94,073.1 total miles, with the total cost of fuel being $21,682.89, Privett said.

"As officers, we learn more and more each day about the community and the citizens in the community," he said. "As a lifelong resident of the Cassville [and] Butterfield area, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of support that the police department has from the citizens. We are very fortunate for all the support.

"What I hope to see in 2015 is for crime stats to drop, an increase in youth education and awareness on substance and alcohol abuse and always for members of law enforcement everywhere to be safe never and become complacent on or off the job."

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