Carson City’s crime rate is at its lowest point in 20 years, but Sheriff Ken Furlong says that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges coming in 2015.
“The community crime reported was at its lowest ever in 2013 and we came into Dec. 4 percent below that.”
He said homicides, rapes, robberies are all down and the total value of property stolen in 2014 was less than $1 million, “for the first time in I don’t know how long.”
By comparison, that number was $1.7 million in 2012 and $1.2 million in 2013.
“That’s enormously significant,” he said.
He said the way to combat the rising number of burglaries is to focus on “the druggies.”
The number of robberies, he said, “I can’t talk about that without meth coming to mind.”
“Meth still has a very strong hold on Carson City,” he said.
He said the department has gotten a much better handle on the drug problem and drug-related crime in the past few years.
“We’ve got the druggies scared,” he said.
To keep them that way, Furlong said he created a new Special Enforcement Team headed by Sgt. Dan Gonzales to keep the pressure on.
That team, he said, will focus its efforts in areas where drug problems occur and on known users.
“I want to focus very heavily on it in the coming year,” he said. “When special enforcement goes down, crime goes up. When drug arrests are declining, crime is increasing.”
Furlong said residents themselves can help greatly — especially with the increasing number of daytime burglaries.
“That’s where the community can serve us best because they know what belongs in their neighborhood,” he said.
He said that means, if something doesn’t look right it probably isn’t right. Call the sheriff’s department.
Furlong said even though the numbers are better than ever, there are a couple of things he sees in the 2014 statistics that concern him — especially the number of juvenile runaways and arrests his deputies have made. Juvenile arrests, he said, are up 30 percent.
“I see so much positive but these two flags stand out,” he said.
He said his people, school district officials and juvenile officials are all trying to figure out what’s going on. He said about problems with juveniles — “that’s a significant indicator of what’s going on in our community.”
“When we’re looking at those juveniles, you’re looking at the future,” he said.
He said he plans to send more officers to area schools to help build relationships with students and adults.
Relationships and trust in the community, Furlong said are vital to his department’s success.
“We have to have a level of trust in order to function in the community,” he said.
But he said recent national events involving law enforcement “have derailed relationships across the country.”
“What we don’t want is people afraid to call us,” he said.
After drug-related crimes, Furlong said the big problem for his deputies is assaults. As of the end of November, there had been 695 assaults in 2014.
But contrary to what many think, he said it’s not the downtown bar scene.
“That’s not an accurate statement,” he said. “The bulk of them are in homes, domestic batteries.”
He said area bar operators have been making a serious effort to reduce the problems in their establishments. He pointed to the new owners of Remedy’s saying they promised to make changes “and they’ve turned it around.”
Furlong’s simple advice to area residents: “Stop hitting each other and stay away from the drugs and we can have a great 2015.”