In the spirit of transparency, the RCPD is once again releasing its annual crime statistics. This year’s numbers provide insight into crime rates across 2020. Annual statistical crime data is available at this link.
The year 2020 was marked by many new challenges to law enforcement, to include an overall increase in significant crimes of opportunity, a global pandemic, an increase in civil unrest, and local youth removed from the in-school environment. In 2020, the RCPD responded to 122,159 calls-for-service in the community. This represents a 14.1% decrease in call-for-service volume from the year prior. The RCPD also saw a 26.7% reduction in total arrests in the same time frame.
Despite this reduction in overall calls, the RCPD noted increases in significant crimes against people, and crimes against property in the following categories from 2019 to 2020:
While it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific cause for the dramatic increase in homicides, it’s important to know that in all cases from 2020 in which the suspect has been arrested, there was an existing relationship between the suspect and the victim. In the vast majority of these murder cases, police have identified a nexus with illegal drug use. Though only two of the 12 homicide cases have yet to result in the arrest of the suspect, the RCPD continues to work these investigations and are making progress toward the apprehension of those responsible for these murders.
Many of these significant crime types represent crimes of opportunity. The COVID pandemic saw a cross section of those in our community lose their jobs. In addition, many local youth were no longer keeping engaged in the in-school environment. It is believed there exists some correlation between these crimes of opportunity and an increased need for resources among certain segments of the community, in addition to an excess of available free time during the day.
It’s also worth noting that the RCPD saw a 22.2% decrease in DUI arrests. With COVID precautions put into place and many residents choosing to quarantine, more members of our community chose to consume alcohol at their place of residence instead of at public establishments. An increased normalization of utilizing ride-share services for transportation can also be a factor in the observed decrease in DUIs in the years since 2017.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that 2020 was an exceptional year for a variety of reasons,” says Chief of Police Don Hedrick. “Despite the numerous challenges posed to the RCPD in 2020, I am extremely proud of the men and women of this agency. Their ability to adapt to the unique circumstances of 2020 and continue to offer the highest level of professionalism while working to hold dangerous offenders accountable for their actions is to be commended. I am confident that our community is in good hands from a public safety standpoint, and I’m optimistic that 2021 will be a much different year for our city.”