BY DEVON THORSBY
Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 21, 2009
Property crime in Ann Arbor jumped 12 percent in 2008, while violent crimes remained relatively stable, dropping 1 percent when compared to the 2007 figures, according to the FBI.
In Washtenaw County, however, the number of violent crimes reported to the sheriff’s department was up 59 percent and property crime increased 8 percent.
The figures come from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, a collection of reported crimes from city, county and state police departments.
In the annual report, the FBI separates reported crimes into two main categories: property crimes and violent crimes. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson, while violent crimes include aggravated assault, robbery, forcible rape and murder.
In Ann Arbor, a 13 percent spike in larcenies and an 8 percent increase in burglaries were the two driving factors for the increase in property crimes.
A larceny differs from a burglary in that a larceny involves theft of property from a public place, where a burglary is committed on private property.
The number of forcible rapes in Ann Arbor increased by 2 incidents, while the number of aggravated assaults dropped by 5 incidents.
As was the case last year, there were no murders in Ann Arbor.
The numbers coming out of Washtenaw County are much more striking.
A 110 percent increase in aggravated assaults and a 9 percent increase in larcenies contributed to the overall increase in violent and property crimes.
The figures for Washtenaw County buck a national trend that saw both violent crimes and property crimes decrease in 2008.
According to the FBI report, violent crimes in the United States decreased by about 2 percent, and property crimes fell about 1 percent.
The report also compares crime statistics from every university and college in the country. Reported crimes at the University of Michigan have decreased from the year 2007 to 2008.
Property crimes dropped nearly 11 percent and violent crimes fell 25 percent on campus.
The University’s official reported crime numbers from 2008 have not yet been filed, according to Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown. The University will release its official statistics on Oct. 1.
Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton expressed his concerns about the county-wide increase in crime in an AnnArbor.com story published last week.
“Any increase in crime concerns me,” Clayton said. “Obviously, one of our primary focuses is public safety and improved quality of life in our community.”
To address the increase in crime, Clayton said the sheriff’s department is working to identify specific crime hotspots in Washtenaw County. The department is also working to increase enforcement numbers and patrols in those areas, according to AnnArbor.com.