Crime in Beloit was down in 2013 compared to 2012.
The annual Uniform Crime Reporting statistics show there were 1,642 major crimes in 2013 compared to 1,873 in 2012. Major crimes included in the UCR are criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft.
Beloit Police Chief Norm Jacobs said the police department is pleased the numbers are decreasing, however, he noted it doesn’t take much to increase any category reported in the UCR.
“Our officers are working hard and smart, with the resources the community supplies, in Beloit’s neighborhoods,” he said.
However, a category like the number of assaults — which went down from 517 reported in 2012 to 380 reported in 2013 — can be difficult to prevent, Jacobs said.
“The decrease in assaults is an example of why we are careful not to claim too much of the glory for reduction of crime in any certain category,” Jacobs said. “Assaults are often a product of other factors such as alcohol, drugs, mental illness and social problems. Many of the assaults appear to be between persons who are in some way acquainted, which might be of some comfort to the rest of us. Assaults are very difficult for a community to prevent.”
The department uses the numbers to determine how best to use police resources, Jacobs said. He added the department likes to look at numbers over three to five years rather than year-over-year because it gives short-term trends a chance to even out.
“A wider timeline makes up for problems with spikes created by hot spot crime and small crime waves,” Jacobs said. “For instance, a group of three burglars looking for cash to support a heroin habit may be able to cause a small burglary crime wave for a few weeks until the police and community can get enough evidence to make an arrest, and at least temporarily get them off our streets.”
There were three homicides in Beloit in 2013. In April, Cassondra L. Sympson, 21, died after the vehicle she was in was struck by another allegedly driven by Johnquayl Bell, 23. Bell turned himself into police on May 1. Armando A. Lopez, 19, was shot and killed on Nov. 24 in the 1200 block of Wisconsin Avenue. Police have identified Ezekiel “Chucky” Villa, 20, as the prime suspect in the killing and are still looking for him.
In June officers shot and killed Darrius Lowery-Baptiste. Lowery-Baptiste attempted to flee officers while they were trying to arrest him on June 11. Two officers fired their weapons when Lowery-Baptiste used his vehicle in an attempt to escape custody. In July, Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary cleared the officers involved in the shooting, and said they acted appropriately at the time.
There was only one homicide reported in 2012. Police say Tevon I. Marley, 28, of Harvey, Ill. shot and killed Ricky Sims Jr., 19, of Chicago in November. Marley was arrested in February 2013.
Robberies stayed nearly flat with 37 in 2013 compared to 38 reported in 2012. There were 320 burglaries in 2013, which was slightly higher than in 2012 when 299 were reported. Forcible rapes increased in 2013 up to 16 compared to 11 in 2012. Motor vehicle thefts also stayed relatively unchanged with 48 in 2012 compared to 45 in 2013.
Jacobs said there are many different types of people in a community, and each deal with crime in their own way. For example the general public will become more aware of crime or disorder when it is their neighborhood, while activists usually focus on the crime that relates to their particular project. Community leaders are aware of crime when it affects the quality of life in a community, Jacobs said.
“We are pleased when the community is aware of disorder and more importantly takes action to help reduce any disorder and prevent it,” he said. “A neighborhood will have as much disorder as it will tolerate.”