MANCHESTER — Burglaries, thefts, arsons and other property crime in the Queen City fell 8.6 percent in 2012 compared to the prior year, though violent crime remained largely unchanged.
Police attributed the drop in property crime in part to effective crime analysis that reveals real-time trends on break-ins, thefts and arsons. This enables investigative, patrol and community policing divisions to share intelligence and coordinate resources to target problems before they develop into trends, Lt. Maureen Tessier said Friday.
City police reported 854 burglaries in 2012, compared to 931 the year prior — a 8.3 percent decline. The 2,879 thefts recorded in 2012 represent a 8.5 percent decrease from the 3,147 in 2011. There were 152 car thefts and 56 arsons in 2012 compared to 161 car thefts and 72 arsons in 2011 — a decrease of 5.6 percent and 22.2 percent respectively.
Violent crime remained essentially unchanged between 2011 and 2012. Manchester had two homicides in both years. There were 74 forcible rapes in 2012, one more than reported the year prior. There were 205 robberies in 2012, a 12.6 percent increase from the 182 in 2011. Aggravated assaults totaled 312 in 2012, a 7.1 percent decrease over the 336 reported in 2011.
Preliminary crime statistics show total crime dropped 7.5 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Manchester police report their preliminary crime data to New Hampshire State Police, which forwards it to the FBI.
Slight variations in the data stem from different systems used to collect and report crime, Tessier said. City police use the National Incident-Based Reporting system, known as NIBRS. State police convert that data using the Uniform Crime Reporting system, then forward it to the FBI, she said.
One example of how crime analysis can be an effective crime-fighting tool was seen when police were confronted with a spike in copper thefts in late 2011 and early 2012, Tessier said. Police increased patrols around abandoned properties, conducted surveillance at scrap yards and were able to identify suspects, resulting in a number of arrests that reduced the copper thefts, she said.
The same technique was used this July when the city experienced a sharp increase in residential and commercial burglaries, Tessier said.
“It has been a tough summer for property crime, a lot of it is founded in substance abuse issues and that is part of the issue,” she said.
During a two-week period last month, burglaries jumped to about 30 a week — twice the normal average, she said.
“The crime analyst had helped us to quickly recognize that trend and we adjusted our investigative and enforcement efforts to target problem areas and identify suspects,” Tessier said.
The department’s Leads-Online system enabled it to identify some of the property sold at pawn shops. A number of burglary-related arrests were made as a result, she said. Some of those arrested were charged with multiple burglaries, leading to a drop in these crimes.