By Betsy Dolan
Rosenberg’s Police Chief says he is not letting up in the department’s ever vigilant battle to stay one step ahead of crime, despite an encouraging report that shows most crime in Rosenberg has decreased significantly in the last 15 years.The city released its 2011 crime statistics in accordance with the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program at the Rosenberg City Council meeting on February 7.
Homicides, rapes, robberies and theft went down by at least 50% in 2011 while burglaries and motor vehicle thefts saw a 17% and 6% percent decrease respectively. Assaults were the only category that saw an increase–up 8% in the last year but down 30% since 1996. Rosenberg Police Chief Robert Garcia said he is especially proud of his department’s record on burglaries, which are notoriously difficult to solve or “clear”. Rosenberg managed a 24% clear rate in 2011 which is almost twice the national average.
“We’re growing, we’re having more people moving into the community and with that comes the likelihood that we’ll see an increase in crime,” said Garcia. “That’s why we have to move forward and continue to prepare ourselves and the best way to do that is to build relationships in the community.”
In 2006 the department opened a satellite facility at Brazos Town Center in order to provide more of a police presence in the city’s largest shopping area. In 2009 the city installed video cameras, which can send live images to the police dispatcher, at all of the large public parks in Rosenberg. Those cameras, Garcia said, were instrumental in the capture of some juveniles who had been spray painting structures in the parks. Similar cameras are set to be installed at Brazos Town Center in April or May.
Keeping crime numbers low has been challenging for the department after four positions, including two patrol officers, were cut in recent years. Garcia is currently working on a five-year strategic plan for the department that does call for hiring additional officers. In the meantime, police are increasingly using technology in order to hone in on Rosenberg’s trouble spots.
“We’re using a program called COMPSTAT and it allows us to analyze data to see where crime is concentrated,” Garcia said. “We can view neighborhoods and businesses, see who is being targeted, be alerted when there is a spike in that area and then we can figure out how we can fix it.”
The department’s goal for 2012 is to continue their vigilance in keeping citizens informed so that they don’t become victims. Garcia likens it to a basketball game “where you are always on offense”.
“We’ll study the data, tweak our plan and always try to stay one step ahead,” he said.