By Betsy Dolan
In almost one-fifth of the residential burglaries in Sugar Land last year, suspects gained access to the homes through unlocked doors and windows.
That’s according to Sugar Land Police Chief David Brinkley who presented the department’s 2012 police report to City Council March 5.
In all, 289 homes and businesses were burglarized in Sugar Land last year up from 220 burglaries in 2011.
The department plans to combat residential burglaries through increased officer presence in the neighborhoods, increased use of forensic specialists at burglary crime scenes and expanding crime prevention and educational initiatives in the community.
“On any given day we have between 5 and 12 officers working on residential burglaries,”said Brinkley. “We also continue to work with Missouri City and Stafford because these guys aren’t just targeting homes in Sugar Land.”
Brinkley is also pushing to expand Sugar Land’s license plate recognition camera program north of 90A as another tool in fighting residential burglaries.
Part 1 crimes increased in 2012
Part 1 crimes, which includes violent crimes, increased 8.6 percent last year according to the police department’s report.
Sugar Land saw increases in robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, thefts with slight increases in auto thefts and sexual assaults. Only homicide numbers dropped from 2 in 2011 to zero in 2012.
Despite the increases, the five-year trend indicates an 18 percent drop in Part 1 crimes overall since 2008.
“Trends are not made in one year. It’s a cumulative effect,” said Brinkley who used the city’s auto theft numbers as an example. “Since 2008, we had been averaging 90 per year but that number dropped to 35 last year.”
Sugar Land’s police department was able to solve 25% of Part 1 crimes, 56% of violent crimes and 23% of property crimes last year.
Average response time to emergency calls in 2012 was 2:45, down from 2:56 in 2011 and 4:42 in 2009.
The city also made 3,545 arrests.
“You’d never think we’d arrest over 3,500 people but little Sugar Land is a big city now,” Brinkley said. “You’re going to see more people being arrested as our population increases.”
Sugar Land gets “safe city” award
CQ Press recently published its 2013 City Crime Ranking report that listed Sugar Land as the second safest city in Texas and 20th safest in the nation (for cities 75,000 to 99,000 population). This independent ranking is based on an analysis of FBI crime statistics.