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20130208 MPDMISSION – According to Mission Police Department’s 2012 Uniform Crime Report, a report the department files annually with the state, crime has declined by 13 percent in the City of Mission in the past 12 months. The biggest decrease in crime has been property crimes.

Property crimes like burglary, larceny and auto theft have gone down each year since 2010. Police Chief Martin Garza said this could be attributed to continued efforts to get more officer presence in residential areas.

Since 2010, auto theft has decreased nearly 50 percent, with 307 auto thefts in 2010 and 162 reported in 2012.

Larceny has gone down from 2,094 in 2011, to 1,787 in 2012, and burglary has decreased to 424 in 2012, from 464 in 2011.

Aggravated assault, the only crime against persons that decreased last year, was 55 in 2011 and 49 in 2012.

Murder increased by one with two in 2011 and three in 2012. Rape also increased in 2012 with seven in 2012 and six in 2011. Another increase was seen in robbery crimes, with 37 in 2010 and 2011 and 46 in 2012.

Property crimes have also decreased due to more neighborhood watches, more officers on patrol, using the mobile impact unit to target problem areas, and Business Watch, said Garza. He also said the decrease can be attributed to having a larger force of officers that can concentrate on smaller areas and training those officers to work more efficiently during their shifts.

All of these are preventative measures, said Garza, and initiatives that have been implemented to cut down on property crimes.

Neighborhood Watch programs have increased from 54 to 68 in the past two years. With the program came changes, including added QR codes to neighborhood signs that directly link residents to the Mission PD website to inform them of the crime rate in the area, tips, and if there are any concerns in that sector. The program has also seen more block parties in 2012, bringing the communities it serves closer together.

Mission Police Department
Uniform Crime Report

Crime: 2011 2012
Murder 2 3
Rape 6 7
Robbery 37 46
Aggravated Assault 55 49
Burglary 464 424
Larceny 2,094 1,787
Auto Theft 193 162
Total 2,849 2,478

A “Business Watch” was also added recently. The watch program is specifically for the business districts, but works similar to the Neighborhood Watch program and also has an increased presence of officers.

Garza said by increasing their presence in residential and business areas, the department has received more calls about suspicious activity. This leads to possible crimes getting stopped before they occur, said Garza.

Other preventative measures in place include the command center, sky watch and video cameras installed at some of the busier intersections and other areas of the city.

“I would like to see a reduction of crimes against persons,” said Garza. This is an area he believes the department needs to give more focus.

Garza said they have the crime victims unit that assists individuals and families after such crimes occur. But they are now getting more involved with non-profit organizations like Mujeres Unidas and Child Protective Services, that assists people that are currently going through troubles like domestic abuse and child negligence. The police are even getting more involved with programs that assist people with drug, alcohol, elderly and child abuse.

“We have to reduce crimes against persons,” said Chief Garza. He said the only way to do that is become more personally attached and involved with these types of programs in a preventive way.

We do have programs that go into the schools and try to prevent things such as drug and alcohol abuse, said Garza. These things though, when abused, can lead to aggression, and to crimes against persons.

Garza said most crimes against persons are crimes of passion – in the heat of the moment crimes – and are harder to prevent than property crimes.

The police chief attributed much of the department’s success in keeping the crime rate low to having the equipment, police officers and resources needed through the support of the city council.

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