Serious crimes are on the rise

Published 10:01am Friday, July 12, 2013

Freeborn County followed the rest of the state in seeing a slight rise in its most serious crimes in 2012, according to data released this week by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

A majority of the increase in the local crimes were classified as larceny, which is theft of property.

According to the 2012 Uniform Crime Report, there were 1,729 total offenses reported by both the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office and the Albert Lea Police Department. Of that number, 682 were considered more serious crimes — rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson. The report stated 1,047 were considered less serious crimes such as forgery, fraud, vandalism, narcotics, driving under the influence and disorderly conduct.

In 2011, there were 1,716 total offenses reported, of which 615 were more serious and 1,101 were less serious, the report stated.

The report stated the Sheriff’s Office reported 153 of the serious offenses in 2012, which is up from 130 in 2011, and the city reported 529 in 2012 — up from 485 in 2011.

Though there was an increase in the serious offenses in both departments, the Albert Lea Police Department saw a decrease in its less serious offenses, leading the department to have fewer overall offenses when compared to 2011.

“I think we have a very good quality of life,” said Albert Lea Public Safety Director Dwaine Winkels.

He said he hasn’t noticed any major increases or decreases in the overall perception of crime committed against people are not random.

According to the data, the most commonly reported crimes to both the Albert Lea Police Department and Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office are larceny, vandalism, narcotics and driving under the influence.

In Albert Lea, there were 425 acts of larceny reported in 2012, 214 acts of vandalism, 94 narcotics and 89 driving while intoxicated.

Law enforcement agencies are required to report their crime data to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension each year, which is compiled into an annual report and provided to the FBI.

Across the state

The 2012 Uniform Crime Report shows a 3.4 percent increase across the state in violent crimes compared to 2011.

There was a 26 percent increase in murders from 73 in 2011 to 92 in 2012.

A news release states there has been fluctuation in this number in the past five years.

Rapes maintained a slightly lower rate in 2012 than had been seen from 2008 to 2011, and aggravated assault saw a small increase after steady declines over the past several years.

After several years of declining numbers, larceny saw a slight rise.