By Betsy Dolan
After exceptionally low numbers last year, crime appears to be on the rise in Sugar Land, according to new statistics from law enforcement.
Part 1 crimes, which include burglary, robbery, murder, sexual assault, theft, auto theft, and aggravated assault rose 10 percent in Sugar Land during the first nine months of the year, compared to all of 2011. Sugar Land Assistant Police Chief Scott Schultz urged residents to use perspective when looking at this year’s numbers.
“Even though there is an increase this year, we are still 7% below where Sugar Land was in 2009 and 20% below where we were in 2010,” Schultz said. “2011 was just an exceptional year for our crime rate.” Before 2011, Schultz said Sugar Land’s Part 1 crimes hadn’t been significantly low since the late 1990’s.
According to statistics compiled by the Sugar Land Police Department, the City saw its largest spikes in residential burglaries and auto parts theft. There were 130 cases of residential burglary in 2011 and 183 cases in 2012. Theft of auto parts, specifically catalytic converters, jumped from 8 in 2011 to 22 in 2012. The City did see a decrease in the number of car burglaries, 285 this year down from 310 in 2011.
Schultz says criminals are getting more sophisticated citing an example six weeks ago when four suspects were arrested for burglarizing homes in Telfair. On the same day Sugar Land Police arrested four other suspects on the north side of the city and when both groups were taken to the jail they seemed to know each other and may have been working together.
“They weren’t from around this area and it shows the level of professionalism that they are using. They aren’t randomly targeting locations,” Schultz said. “Crimes occur in pockets and once we address one area they move to another and it is continually moving. We make arrests and other groups show up.
Revolving pockets of crime allows Sugar Land police to utilize a crime reduction unit which temporarily puts additional officers and patrols in hot spots.
Homeowners are encouraged to make sure their alarm systems include motion sensors or glass breakage sensors in bedrooms because, according to Schultz, most do not and criminals will target their search in the bedrooms and not bother with the rest of the house.
“But our most valuable weapon is residents reporting suspicious activity,” Schultz said. “Look out for your neighbors.”