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Aberdeen crime down more than 10 percent in last five years, police say

In the last five years, overall crime in the City of Aberdeen is down nearly 10.5 percent on average, the city’s police chief said this week, a decline he attributes to the department’s relationship with the residents.

From 2016 to 2017, all Part One crimes reported in the city declined 17.5 percent, Chief Henry Trabert told the City Council at its meeting Monday night.

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Part One crimes are those considered more serious that are reported to the FBI including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft.

“Each of the man and women of the Aberdeen Police Department do an excellent job, but I think the partnerships and relationships we have with the community is the real reason that we’ve reduced crime in the city,” Trabert said. “I want to give applause to the community, there are reaching to us, they are working with us and I think that partnership is really what’s reducing crime in Aberdeen.”

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Police officers spend many hours meeting with the public, whether through meetings or at events such as Christmas on Patrol, Earth Day or the Police Unity Tour, Trabert said.

“I think it raises their confidence in what we do, and it definitely builds good partnerships when we work together with the community,” he said.

Over the last five years, except for a 4.5 percent increase in 2014, Part One crime went down 21.1 percent in 2015, 16.24 percent in 2016 and 17.5 percent in 2017, Trabert said.

“Except for a slight increase in 2014, we have seen a continuous slide and reduction in crime to what I think is an all time low in 2017,” he said.

The most frequent crime reported in Aberdeen is larcenies, which decreased by 61 from 265 to 204 between 2016 and 2017, a 23 percent reduction, according to information provided by Trabert.

No homicides were reported in 2017, down from three in 2016. Only robberies increased, from 24 to 29, Trabert said.

The number of calls for service to police went up from 2016 to 2017 from 28,744 to 31,470 — an increase Trabert said is a good thing.

“Our message has been getting out to the public that if you see a crime, say something, if you see something, say something,” Trabert said. “We’re telling the public to call us anytime they see something suspicious, regardless of how important they think it is, it’s important for us to get out there and take a look at it.”

Reporting suspicious activity allows the department to “get out there, take a look at it and prevent a crime from happening in the future or even that day,” Trabert said.

The number of motor vehicle accidents in the city declined between 2016 and 2017, from 192 to 183, with one fatal accident last year (there were none in 2016), the chief said.

Drinking and driving arrests remained the same at 46, he said.

The number of traffic citations issued in 2017, 10,266, was down by 16.8 percent from 12,341 in 2016, Trabert said

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“I’m hoping that behavior has changed from us enforcing the law, that’s why they’re less, but we also had less officers on the street enforcing traffic citations,” Trabert said.

The police department also took on code enforcement beginning in the summer of 2017.

“That was a challenge for us because we’ve never been in the business of enforcing local codes, but we had to dive into it and we were lucky enough to hire Martina Capelli, who has become an all star in code enforcement,” Trabert said.

She handled 319 complaints since June, with most between June and September, he said. She made 25 referrals, completed 278 investigations, sent 238 certified letters and issued five civil and four parking citations.

Mayor Patrick McGrady, who owns a number of rental properties in the city, praised Capelli’s efforts.

“She’s going to people who don’t think they have a problem, telling them they have a problem and trying to get them to fix a problem that they don’t think exists and she does it with a smile and with grace and with poise, so I appreciate that job,” McGrady said.

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