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Police department's statistics tell story of crime in Derry
The statistics also demonstrate the unpredictability of crime in Derry and the difficulty in predicting who will break the law next, said veteran Derry Police Capt. Vernon Thomas.
Thomas spoke recently on a set of crime statistics from 2002 to 2012 of reported offenses released by the department. The statistics show that crime tends to run in cycles, with drugs serving as a catalyst for other crimes.
Reported drug-related offenses were up from 137 in 2011 to 180 in 2012, representing a 31 percent increase. Five years ago, there were 128 reported offenses compared to 140 in 2002. Statistics are compiled annually and were not available for this year.
Many robberies committed in town involve physical force, or what is known as strong-arm robberies. Drugs are often involved in these crimes, or “drug rips, ” he said. For example, someone goes to buy drugs but instead of receiving the drugs, the cash is stolen and the person leaves empty handed. Thomas said he is stunned at how people sometimes react following these crimes.
He added that police usually thank the person for telling them and end up still investigating the crime.
Better technology has improved surveillance cameras, as technology has changed from VCR systems to today’s digital systems, Thomas said. Police are able to access better images of suspects and release them to the public more quickly and efficiently.
Some Derry residents saWhen asked if Derry residents were safer today than they were 10 years ago, Thomas said the 56-member department has fewer officers on patrol now than back then.
“There is a whole group of people out there that don’t want to bother us with the stuff that goes on in their neighborhood,” he said. “Please don’t do that. If you see something going wrong, call us when it’s happening so that we can help. And that keeps these statistics low.”
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