State College Police Release Crime Stats: Numbers Decline in 2012
State College Police released it's annual Report to the Community for 2012 this week, revealing a downturn in crime from 2011.
The report prominently details the violent crimes that have occurred in the area. Assault accounts for 87 percent of all violent crimes in State College, while rape accounts for 5.7%, according to the report. State College Police responded to 193 violent crimes in 2012.
Violent personal injury crime -- which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- is down 7 percent from 2011. Lesser property crimes -- including burglary, theft and arson -- declined by 11 percent.
State College Police Chief Tom King says that there are programs in place to curb these crimes, such as bike patrols on the weekends, but he could not say with certainty if the reason behind the crime drop is because of those programs.
Of the nearly 2,760 arrests that occurred in State College in 2012, 29.9 percent were alcohol related.
According to the report, police acknowledge that alcohol abuse is one of the greatest issues that State College has to grapple with. To combat drinking issues, police have partnered with community groups and faith-based organizations as well as Penn State.
King says the police have a number of programs to help curb dangerous drinking. That includes a program known as F8, which uses several area police agencies to assertively enforce neighborhood ordinances early during Penn State's fall semester.
There's also the Neighborhood Enforcement Alcohol Team (NEAT), which allocates two officers to the Highlands neighborhood during the weekends to focus on nuisance crimes like noise and criminal mischief.
King also included in the report a staffing study he conducted in an attempt to get a small increase in the police force to meet the community needs.
Currently, the State College Borough employs 64 officers, with a budget to hire 65 officers. King indicates in the report that State College Police should ideally have 69 officers on staff.
King says in the report that the current workload demands of officers is very heavy, and it would be better for the community's safety to have more officers working. King believes additional officers would improve response time.
The number of officers needed depends on whether it is day or night, the report says. More officers are placed in an area at night in case they have to deal with calls relating to drunk driving, assault and underage drinking, as these are mostly seen at night.