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Washington police chief discusses preliminary crime stats

Washington Police Chief Stacy Drakeford shared some insights regarding the city’s preliminary crime statistics from 2020, which have yet to be released to the public.

“The challenge in 2020 was we had to retool our department as far as serving the community,” Drakeford said. “We’re still working through that process of giving everybody the service that they need and require in the pandemic.”

While the police department navigated through these challenges, crime rates did not show a significant increase or decrease in most areas, Drakeford said. Those rates are calculated based on the area population, and Washington has seen fluctuations in several categories since 2018.

“Based on 2019’s numbers, everything was pretty much in line except for aggravated assaults,” Drakeford said.

The number of aggravated assaults has been climbing within the past two years. That number grew by 15 between 2018 and 2019.

“In the first six months of 2020, larcenies were down and I equate that to people staying home,” Drakeford said.

2020 ended with no significant fluctuation in the city’s larceny rate between the numbers in 2019 and 2020. The number of motor vehicle thefts significantly decreased in that same time frame, and Drakeford doesn’t think that the pandemic was a contributing factor.

“Our motor vehicle thefts were down but I attribute that to us making a conscious effort to inform the public about locking your car doors, don’t leave your keys in the car, things like that,” Drakeford said.

The 2020 index crime by agency by month statistics are expected to be released at some point in 2021 following certification from the state.