Now that 2011 has ended we are able to report what the final crime statistics are for Lexington. However, we first need to provide you with an explanation of our reporting methodology going forward.
In an earlier piece on the crime rate we introduced you to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) which measures reported crime all across the country. (http://keeplexingtonsafe.org/Crime_Rates.html) As we mentioned in that article, there are some flaws with the way in which the FBI keeps it’s statistics and reports it’s findings. The FBI has also made a transition away from having police departments calculate their own UCR eligible offenses. Departments now submit all of their incidents using the National Incident Based Reporting System or NIBRS. The FBI then calculates the UCR themselves, in the hopes that having a consistent review process will produce a more accurate product.
After talking with the analysts who actually monitor and keep the records for the Lexington Police Department in the Planning and Analysis Unit, we have decided that we will use the total offense figures supplied to NIBRS going forward. The Planning and Analysis Unit has to prepare internal reports for monthly Compstat meetings. These reports are used by Chief Bastin and his subordinates to determine how the police department’s limited (and ever dwindling) resources are deployed. We will report the same data to you that the Chief and his staff use to make decisions.
The reports are divided into what are called Part 1 and Part 2 crimes. The nine most serious offenses are considered “Part 1.” Everything else is considered “Part 2.” The Part 1 offenses are: Homicide, Manslaughter, Rape, Robbery, Assault, Burglary, Larceny, Auto Theft, and Arson.
The main differences between the way that NIBRS has tracked Part 1 offenses and the way that the FBI reports them in their annual UCR are:
1. NIBRS separates the two offenses of Homicide and Manslaughter into two separate categories while the FBI UCR combines them.
2. The FBI UCR makes a further distinction between Negligent and Non- negligent Manslaughter, reporting Non- negligent Manslaughters and ignoring the others.
3. The FBI UCR only reports aggravated or Felony level Assaults, while the NIBRS reports include all Assaults.
Given the low incident of all types of Manslaughter in both Lexington and in the country as a whole the main difference in the final numbers is the inclusion of Misdemeanor Assaults. Since we had been using the year 2007 as a baseline in our earlier reports, we asked the Planning and Analysis Unit to go back and include provide us with the NIBRS data for that year. The 2007 UCR had reported 11,169 Part 1 offenses in Lexington that year. The NIBRS number is 12,938.
From now on we will use NIBRS data for total crime statistics and not the FBI’s UCR report in order to be as accurate as possible on this website.
Now to the analysis of 2011’s crime rate to that of 2010: In 2011 the overall Part 1 crime rate in Lexington rose 9.49% over 2010. There were 15,616 Part 1 crimes reported in 2011 compared to 14,263 Part 1 crimes reported in 2010.
Most of the increase was due to a severe increase in the number of property crimes, particularly larcenies. There was a 20.6% increases in the number of reported larcenies in 2011, from 7,615 incidents in 2010 to 9,190 incidents in 2011.
There was also an overall increase in Burglary from 2011 to 2010. At first glance increase is miniscule, from 2,772 incidents in 2010 to 2,782 incidents in 2011. However, when you further break the Burglary incidents down into Commercial Burglary, which is a burglary of a business, and Residential Burglary, which is burglary of an individual’s home, a disturbing trend appears.
Commercial burglaries, which most people would frankly consider less personally threatening, declined substantially in 2011, from 702 incidents in 2010 to 494 incidents in 2011. However, residential burglary rose from 2,070 incidents to 2,288 incidents in 2011. This is an increase of 10.5%.
Most crimes against persons remained relatively even with their rate in 2010 or even declined a little. For example, there was a significant decline in the number of reported incidents of Robbery, from 617 incidents in 2010 to 502 incidents in 2011. However, there was a disturbing increase in the number of reported Rapes, from 119 in 2010 to 132 in 2011. This represents an increase of 10.9%.
These figures are more disturbing if you compare them to our baseline year of 2007, the year that the Lexington Police department enjoyed it’s highest levels of staffing and Fayette County enjoyed it’s lowest reported crime rate in the history of merged government. As stated above, the number of total reported Part 1 crimes in 2007 was 12,938. The 2011 number of 15,616 represents an increase of 20.7% in just 4 years.
As 2012 progresses we intend to inform you of the increase or decrease in Part 1 crimes on a regular basis. In the future we also analyze and report on the numbers of Part 2 crimes as well. An increase in these crimes, while perhaps not as alarming as the 9.49% single year increase in Part 1 crimes that we have just endured, contributes significantly to the lowering the quality of life in Lexington, particularly in lower- income neighborhoods.
Now at the beginning of the year is the time to let your elected officials know if these types of increases in the crime rate are acceptable to you or not. The LFUCG budgeting process will begin in earnest in April, but it's never to early to start telling your elected officials what their priorities should be. The sooner they begin to hear that significant changes in their priorities are going to be demanded by their constituents, the sooner they will begin to accept that some of their pet projects may have to go unfunded. You can contact your elected officials by going to our "Get Involved" page and letting them know what you and your family's priorities are.