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Janesville’s crime rate keeps falling despite spike in homicides

(WIFR)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:26 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - In 2020, the City of Janesville saw more homicides in three months than in any year over the past three decades. Conversely, its crime rate was lower than any year since the 1980′s.

Janesville’s Chief of Police David Moore revealed those counterintuitive figures Tuesday as he discussed the latest crime statistics for his city.

Moore seemed especially shaken by the four homicides, pointing out Janesville rarely tops two in a year and, in several years, none were committed. Yet, by the end of March, the city had already topped every year since at least 1991, surpassing the three committed in 1994, according to police numbers.

Fortunately, there were no more committed for the rest of the year.

Moore highlighted that in all three of its investigations into those homicides, a suspect has been located and captured. He added that he hopes those arrests provide some level of closure to the victims’ families.

Another tragic number cited by Moore, opiate overdoses. The department’s figures show six people died from an overdose last year.

CRIME RATE DROPS

According to the Janesville Police Dept., the crime rate was lower in 2019 than any point in the past 35 years. Then, it dropped 11 percent further.

A twelve-percent decline in property crime played a major part in the drop, Moore noted. Additionally, violent crime fell two percent from the previous year.

The chief of police, however, was quick to shine the light of success onto other elements of the community, conceding that his department does not play a significant role in affecting the crime rate.

Moore credited efforts like DROP, which helps heroin addicts find recovery, or its Domestic Violence High Risk Offender program with contributing to declining numbers. He also pointed to police investments into crisis intervention.

He went on to highlight the police department’s outreach into Black and Latino communities.

Moore said his officers are committed to a community policing model and practice proactive policing, adding he doesn’t want them to be satisfied answering calls about crimes. He wants them to be problem solvers.

He also sees possible concerns hidden by the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that children being at home could be reducing reported incidents because often it is the school that reaches out to authorities.

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