Baytown Police Department year-end statistics for 2019 show a slight reduction in overall crime in the city compared to 2018, but not quite down to the historically low numbers achieved in 2017.

A sharp decline in the number of reported auto thefts drove the overall decrease. Most other categories showed small increases or decreases.

The number of reported car thefts was down from 500 in 2018 to 390 in 2019. 

Baytown police spokesman Lt. Steve Dorris said the reduction “can be attributed in large part to our Special Operations Unit who were able to identify a ring of auto thieves operating in our area and through countless hours of investigative work they were able to arrest several individuals and effectively dismantle the crime ring.

The statistics reported by police on a monthly basis are from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, which provides definitions for several specific categories of crime.

The report does not include all crimes (drug offenses and simple assault, for example, are not

 included), but is generally considered to reflect overall trends.

“The other significance to the reduction in crime is that it is in spite of the growth of our city over the past few years,” Dorris said.

“The growth in businesses and industry we have enjoyed in recent years also brings a large influx of people into our city on a daily basis, which in theory should cause crime to rise.”

Dorris attributed the decrease in crime to “the hard work of the men and women in our department, who are committed to keeping our city safe and work hard every day to do so.”

“We also understand ho technology helps in those efforts and do our very best to employ the latest technologies in crime fighting,” he said.

“Whether it’s our front line patrol officers patrolling our streets conducting proactive enforcement between calls, our Hot Spot Unit tracking down and arresting wanted felons or the many other projects they work on while targeting ‘hot spots’ of crime, or our Special Operations Unit, who employ more covert methods of identifying, investigating and incarcerating drug dealers, gang members, auto thieves and others who seek to negatively impact our community.”

Changes in crime categories between 2018 and 2019 were:

Crimes against persons—Aggravated assault up from 153 to 177; Robbery down from 94 to 90; Sexual assault up from 35 to 49; and murder steady at three each year.

One note to the report is that the FBI statistics consider police-related shootings as a separate category, so the May death of a woman during an attempted arrest will not be included in the report regardless of the outcome of that ongoing investigation.

Crimes against property—Theft down from 2,029 to 2,009; auto thefts down from 500 to 390; burglaries up from 379 to 434.

The number of crimes reported in Baytown followed the nationwide trend of dropping substantially after the mid-1990s. There was a spike in property crimes around the time of the 2008 recession.

Other than that, numbers have been fairly stable even as the city has added both population and land area.

Overall, in 1990, there was one crime reported for about every 10 residents. Since 2015 there has been one crime reported for about every 25 residents each year.

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