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Serious crime numbers drop in Rochester

The number of serious crimes reported in Rochester fell significantly in 2010, a 14-percent decrease compared to 2009, according to newly released police department statistics.

The serious crimes fall in eight FBI-defined categories: homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson. At 2,679, the number of serious crimes reported in Rochester in 2010 is the second-lowest total recorded in the past 15 years.

The crime numbers are heading in a good direction, said Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson, but police use them to spot trends and help direct enforcement efforts, not ease concerns about public safety.

"We don't try to tell people that you should feel safe because the numbers are lower," Peterson said.

The police department released the numbers at the Post-Bulletin's request.


While crime numbers in individual categories are flat or declining, RNeighbors director Rene Jones Lafflam says communication between police and residents has improved during the past two years, helping ease concerns in certain situations.

"I feel that some relationships, some bridges have been built, and there's more trust," she said.

By category, here's a look at serious crimes reported in 2010:

• The largest drop was in the number of reported larcenies, or thefts. They totaled 1,925, down 18 percent compared to 2009, when 2,343 were reported.

• Auto thefts dropped significantly during the past two years. The 105 thefts reported in 2010 and the 104 reported in 2009 each represent a 44-percent drop from 2008, when 186 auto thefts were reported. The 2009 and 2010 auto theft numbers are also the lowest recorded in the past 15 years. Peterson attributes the drop to more anti-theft devices in cars and people locking doors and taking keys with them.

• The 399 burglaries reported in 2010 was consistent with 2009, when 397 were reported. Burglaries recorded in the last two years each represent a 25-percent drop from 2008, when 534 were reported.

• The number of assaults fell 13 percent to 123, were the lowest number  since 1999, when 91 were reported. Firearm assaults have become more common in Rochester and are included this category, however, so a drop in numbers understandably does not equal a decrease in public concern, Peterson said.

• Fifty-eight robberies were reported in 2010, the same number reported in 2009. The numbers in 2010 and 2009 were the lowest annual totals since 2003, when 47 robberies were reported.


• For the second straight year, one homicide was recorded in Rochester. There were four murders in 2008, which was equal to the number committed in the previous five years combined.

• Fifty-three rapes were reported to police in 2010, one less than in 2009. Authorities believe many rapes go unreported, however, and Peterson notes that the FBI categorization of rape, which is decades old, does not include victims younger than 18.

• Arson numbers decreased slightly, falling from 18 reported in 2009 to 15 in 2010. The lowest number during the past 15 years, five, was reported in 2004.

15-year crime data

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