persons and crimes against property were mostly down last year in
unincorporated Porter County.
accidents were also down in 2015, as were OWI arrests, as was--surprisingly
perhaps, given the increased safety of unincorporated roadways--traffic
And the total
number of Porter County Sheriff’s Office incidents--total 911 calls and
alarms, plus total crime reports, plus total traffic accidents, plus total
traffic incidents--was significantly down, in fact the lowest in at least
Those are the
highlights of the PCSO’s 2015 annual report, released last week.
Begin with reported
crimes against persons.
In 2015 the PCSO
investigated 26 assaults, compared to 28 in 2014, a 7-percent decrease (32
in 2013, 36 in 2012, 32 in 2011).
Simple assaults, on
the other hand, upticked by 1 percent, to 174 from 172 in 2014 (179 in 2013,
158 in 2012, 163 in 2011).
Robberies were down
by 43 percent last year, to four from seven in 2014 (six in 2013, two in
2012, three in 2011).
There were five
reported rapes in 2015, the same number as in 2014 (four in 2013, three in
2012, four in 2011).
And there were two
homicides (none in 2014 and 2013, two each in 2012 and 2011).
Neither of last
year’s murders was random, the PCSP noted, but “directly related to domestic
Both burglaries and
thefts in unincorporated Porter County decreased sharply in 2015: burglaries
by 20 percent, to 90 from 113 in 2014, easily the lowest number in at least
five years (the largest number, 186, in 2013); and thefts by 14 percent, to
316 from 368 in 2014, again the fewest in five years (the most, 718, in
Vehicle thefts, on
the other hand, did increase appreciably, by 19 percent: to 37 from 31 in
2014 (34 in 2013, 51 in 2012, 718 in 2011). The PCSO noted that most of
these thefts were of recreational vehicles, like ATVs, dirt bikes, and snow
mobiles, while many of the other thefts were committed by victims’ friends,
family members, or employees.
Nine people died in
motor vehicle accidents last year on unincorporated roadways in Porter
County, the same number as in 2014 (six in 2013, five in 2012, eight in
crashes declined by 11 percent, to 318 from 357 in 2014, the lowest number
in at least five years (with 368, in 2011, the largest number).
crashes dropped more modestly, by 6 percent, to 1,256 from 1,336 in 2014
(the fewest in five years, 1,162, were recorded in 2012).
driving complaints rose slightly in 2015--by 2 percent, to 1,349 from 1,317
in 2014)--every other category of “traffic incident” decreased:
* Traffic stops by
21 percent, to 10,101 from 12,738 in 2014, the fewest in five years (the
most, 18,914, in 2012).
vehicle/person reports, by 9 percent, to 2,347 from 2,592 in 2014.
* OWI complaints,
by 46 percent, to 21, from 39 in 2014.
* A total of 2,868
traffic citations was issued in 2015, compared to 3,863 in 2014, a decrease
of 26 percent; a total of 9,617 warning was issued, compared to 13,092 in
2014, a decrease of 27 percent.
The PCSO is
attributing the decrease seen both in crashes and in traffic stops to
motorists’ using more care and paying more attention while they drive; and
to officers’ focusing their enforcement efforts on high crash areas.
Officers, that is,
made fewer traffic stops in 2015 but those stops were of a higher quality.
“Officers are targeting high-crime areas and doing more thorough
investigations on their traffic stops,” the PCSO said.
An increased police
presence in high-crime areas, coupled with more thorough investigations
during traffic stops, is responsible, in turn, for a healthy rise in the
number of arrests in 2015, the PCSO added: an 11-percent rise, in fact,
despite 24 percent fewer OWI arrests and 15 percent fewer alcohol-related
Fully 1,789 people
were taken into custody on criminal charges last year, compared to 1,611 in
2014 and the most in at least five years. Of those, 1,044 were charged with
so-called Part 2 offenses-- anything but homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated
assaulted, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson--compared to 784
in 2014, an increase of 33 percent and the most in at least five years.
Part 2 arrests also
rose marginally, by 2 percent, to 219 from 214 in 2014, also the most in at
least five years.
arrests rose fractionally, by 2 percent, to 207 from 202 in 2014, the most
in at least five years.
* A total of 5,969
persons was booked into the Porter County Jail last year, compared to 5,951,
for a nominal increase of 0.29 percent.
* The average daily
inmate count at PCJ in 2015: 401, a 2-percent drop from the 411 in 2014, and
the smallest average daily inmate count in at least five years (the largest
daily count, 467 in 2011).
* Total PCSO
incidents last year: 35,671, compared to 41,281 in 2014, a decrease of 14
percent and the smallest number of incidents in at least five years (the
largest number, 48,303, in 2013.
“It’s important for
the citizens of Porter County to understand that almost all crime is
directly associated with drug abuse,” the PCSO said. And “we have seen an
increase in substance-abuse and drug-related incidents.”
An overview of
* There were 32
overdoses in unincorporated Porter County and seven overdose fatalities,
“Six of those deaths were heroin specific, which is down from 11 in 2014,”
the PCSO said.
* In November 2014,
the PCSO issued a naloxone rescue kit--a drug capable of reversing, almost
immediately, the effects of an opiate overdose--to every patrol officer in
the department. Last year officers used those kits to save 17 lives in
unincorporated Porter County.
* Last year the
PCSO produced a public service video entitled “Heroin: Not a Problem but an
Epidemic,” which has been viewed on YouTube more than 77,000 times. Sheriff
Dave Reynolds has personally screened the video to more than 2,000 students
and citizens to raise awareness of the epidemic.