ROCK COUNTY - Various area law enforcement agencies have released crime statistics from 2017, with moderate increases and decreases spanning various offenses cataloged by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) database.
• Rock County
According to the Rock County Sheriff's Office, deputies reported 526 offenses last year compared to 512 in 2016. The sheriff's office reported no homicides last year compared to one homicide in 2016; More forcible rape cases were reported with 25 being investigated last year compared to 18 in 2016; fewer assaults were reported with 164 in 2016 compared to 149 last year.
The county responded to more property crimes in 2017 over 2016, with 109 burglaries reported in 2017 and 87 the previous year.
Thefts increased from 199 in 2016 to 237 in 2017, while motor vehicle thefts increased from 19 to 25 over the same period, according to the report summary provided by the sheriff's office.
Janesville saw an increased number of homicides with two reported in 2017 compared to none in 2016, while overall violent crime also increased from past years. Chief David Moore hosted a media event Wednesday afternoon to discuss the new data, saying the uptick in crime paled in comparison to higher rates from the 1990s. In total, Janesville police reported 2,122 crimes last year, up from 1,912 in 2016. Rapes increased from 28 in 2016 to 45 last year, with Moore noting the increase could stem from the FBI's definition of forcible rape changing to be more inclusive related to violent sex crimes.
Property crimes increased by nearly 200 reports, from 1,767 in 2016 to 1,952 in 2017, with burglaries, thefts and motor vehicle thefts all seeing increases.
Moore said the increase in property crimes could be tied to the county and nation's opioid epidemic, with Moore specifically citing heroin use in the city as a culprit for increased property crimes. According to a random sample of crime reports, 28 of 60 offenders with drug arrests were also involved with property crimes at a rate of 47 percent. The city's Death Recovery Or Prison officer Chad Woodman, who interacts with hundreds of at-risk drug users said 90 percent of drug users known to police commit crimes to support their drug habit.
The department responded to 201 drug overdose calls in 2017, the highest total for the department since 2013.
According to the department's FBI crime rate calculation, crime has decreased in Janesville from over 7,000 incidents per 100,000 residents in 1993 to just over 3,000 per 100,000 residents in 2017, with the trends reflecting state and national averages.
Moore added that the high profile search and subsequent arrest of Janesville gun thief Joseph Jakubowski in April 2017 helped boost the community's support of the department, noting that it was the city's largest investigation the city had seen in over three decades.
• Town of Beloit:
In total, the town reported 340 criminal offenses last year.
The Town of Beloit saw a marginal increase in the number of rapes, robberies, burglaries and thefts in 2017 compared to last year, with fewer aggravated assaults being reported.
For the second year in a row, no homicides were reported in the township.
The township responded to two rapes in 2017, up from 0 in 2016; one robbery last year compared to none in 2016; 27 burglaries last year, up from 26 in 2016; 76 thefts were reported last year, up from 61 in 2016. Two aggravated assaults were reported last year compared to three in 2016.
• South Beloit
In South Beloit, the department saw fewer rapes, robberies, burglaries and vehicle thefts in 2017 compared to 2016, while thefts and aggravated battery assaults increased, according to department data.
There were 11 battery assaults last year, compared to nine in 2016 and 94 thefts compared to 74 reported two years ago.
Crime data for Beloit is expected to be released by the Beloit Police Department next week.
A brief summary report released in January showed no shooting deaths in the city for the first time in 11 years, according to command staff. One homicide was reported in 2017, the lowest total in five years. Since 2007, 33 homicides have been reported by Beloit police. 2014 saw the most homicides since 2007, with eight being reported.
The Daily News has been requesting crime statistics from the Beloit Police Department, but has not received that information as of yet.