Annual crime numbers down in Pullman

Rates in areas such as violence, theft see high drops in yearly trends



Darby Baldwin, left, and Pullman Chief of Police Gary Jenkins discuss the department’s annual crime report during a Pullman Police Advisory Committee meeting Monday.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Pullman saw a drop in crime rates in 2017, according to a report given by Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins to the Pullman Police Advisory Committee on Monday.

Jenkins presented Pullman PD’s 2017 annual crime report, which contains numbers for various types of crimes committed in the department’s jurisdiction. Overall, crime went down 22 percent from the previous year, according to the report.

While crime numbers were down, Jenkins said residents were worried about burglary numbers which also went down.

“There was a lot of concern during 2017 about burglaries that were occurring in residential neighborhoods,” Jenkins said. “But if you look at the numbers, we actually had a 36 percent decrease … citywide.”

Jenkins said the department will continue to combat these thefts.

“Even though there were some that did cause concern[s] we still work to address [them],” he said. “Overall we did see a decrease in those crimes.”

The main groups of crimes focused on in the report were “Group A Offenses,” which are broken down in to persons, property and society. All three groups saw drops in offenses committed, according to the report. These numbers do not reflect crimes committed on the WSU Pullman campus.

Persons offenses include assault and other crimes against individuals and saw a decrease of 28 percent in Pullman and a slight increase across Washington state. Forcible sex offenses dropped by 41 percent from 29 in 2016 to 17 in 2017, while assault and intimidation went from 252 reported instances in 2016 to 183 in 2017, a drop of 27 percent, according to the report.

In the property category, the biggest drop came in crimes of fraud, which fell 70 percent from 210 instances in 2016 to only 63 in 2017, according to the report. The category overall saw a 20 percent decrease, while statewide law enforcement agencies saw about a 7 percent reduction in these crimes.

As for society crimes, which include drug and nonviolent weapons offenses, Pullman dropped about 25 percent when compared to the 6 percent increase statewide. However, animal cruelty did see an increase of four from the previous year’s mark of zero, according to the report.

While not as serious, the department also issued about 800 less parking infractions, according to the report.

Other items covered in the report included things such as new trainings, outreach efforts and awards earned. Jenkins pointed to training provided to officers regarding Narcan, an injectable substance used to combat the effects of an opioid overdose.

Jenkins said officers could now administer the drug, which can be done without an intense diagnosis due to the drug being harmless even to those without opioids in their system. While happy the training was carried out, Jenkins said officers would not often have to use the injection due to the assistance provided by the Pullman Fire Department.

“We’re lucky to be in a city where the fire department has such a quick response time,” Jenkins said.

In the significant events portion at the end of the report, the string of 15 couch fires lit in celebration following WSU football’s upset victory over the University of Southern California on Sept. 29 made the list.

Committee member Stephanie Rink pointed out the oddity of this mention.

“I think this is the only city I’ve heard of to have a significant event of couch fires,” Rink said.