WPD reports lowest crime statistics in 20 years
WORTHINGTON — The 2013 crime statistics for Worthington were released last week, and the city saw its lowest crime statistics report since 1989, according to Worthington Police Chief Mike Cumiskey.
The city had 4,160 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, with a clearance rate of 68 percent, meaning the department solved 68 percent of the cases for the year.
In 2012, the department saw 5,741 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants with a clearance rate of 62 percent. Overall, Worthington crime rates have seen a downward trend.
“The per 100,000 inhabitants means if the city had 100,000 residents, that’s how many cases were reported; that’s just how the data is compared by the state,” said Cumiskey.
The Worthington crime reports are sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (MBCA), where overall crime statistics are tracked as well as what are known as “part one” and “part two” offenses across the state.
“Part one offenses are your felony-level offenses and part two are your less serious crimes, excluding traffic violations,” said Cumiskey.
After the MBCA releases the state’s statistics, Cumiskey said he compares Worthington’s overall numbers with cities like Fairmont and Marshall, due to their proximity to Worthington and similar size.
“Both Fairmont and Marshall, compared to the national average, have lower crime rates,” Cumiskey said. “However, we’ve seen that Worthington has actually had lower crime statistics than both cities over the years.”
As for Worthington’s spike in crime during 2009, as shown in the graphic, Cumiskey believes the economy had a lot to do with that increase.
“That 2008-2009 mark was when the economy just crashed, so we did see a lot more crime, such as burglary and theft, during that time,” he said.
“After that time period, though, you see our numbers drop right back down and stay pretty consistent,” Cumiskey added.
Cumiskey attributes the low crime rates to the entire staff and officers of the Worthington Police Department, Nobles County Sheriff’s Office and Buffalo Ridge Task Force.
“It starts with our staff being consistent, leaving no stone unturned and having that teamwork attitude,” Cumiskey said. “From our officers to our dispatchers and our records department ... everyone works together.”
Cumiskey also stated that departments such as the Buffalo Ridge Task Force and the newly established Nobles County Drug Court have significantly helped with the lower crime statistics.
“The Buffalo Ridge Task Force has worked on strategic cases that have sent a lot of the drug dealers out of this area, which eliminates some of the other smaller crimes that occur, such as burglary and theft,” Cumiskey said. “Drug court has also played a part in making people more accountable for staying clean, which — again — helps lower that crime statistic.”
As for the remaining clearance rate percentage, Cumiskey stated that some cases are easier to solve than others.
“Some crimes leave more evidence at the scene than others, which is more for our officers to investigate,” Cumiskey explained. “Some crime scenes just don’t leave much for us to work with. For example, burglary cases are more difficult cases to solve because normally there is no trace of DNA — or much evidence — left behind.”
Cumiskey, though, attributes a high clearance rate of cases solved to the staff and officers.
“Our officers show perseverance and drive to stay on every case that is handed to them,” he said.
For 2014, Cumiskey said he hopes the department is just as consistent this year as it was in 2013.
“We’re not a factory,” he said. “We have an idea of what is coming down the pike, but we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. But I think we’ll be just as consistent, if not more, in 2014.”
Cumiskey commended his officers and staff for their hard work in 2013, as well as all the work they continue to do.
“The officers, staff, patrol, records clerks and dispatchers all worked hand in hand to accomplish solving crimes,” Cumiskey said.
“I also want to thank the city of Worthington, our city administrator and the city council for always funding the police department and supporting us,” he added.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.