Reports of violent crime in Columbia fewest since 2008, police data show

Thursday, January 30, 2014 | 11:33 a.m. CST; updated 7:22 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 30, 2014

COLUMBIA — Fewer violent crimes were reported in Columbia last year than in 2012, according to Uniform Crime Reporting statistics released Wednesday by the Columbia Police Department.

According to the department's statistics, 416 violent crimes were reported in 2013, an average of 3.76 crimes per 1,000 people. That's the fewest since 2008, when 392 violent crimes were reported, an average of 3.88 per 1,000 people.

Categories in the Uniform Crime Report

The Police Department's Uniform Crime Reporting keeps track of reports of violent and property crimes. Here's a look at what kinds of crimes fall under each category:

Violent: Homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault.

Property: Burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft. 

The stats also track reports of arson and calls to the police. 

Reports of property crime increased slightly between 2012 and 2013, according to the statistics. A total of 4,359 property crimes were reported last year, for an average of 39.40 per 1,000 people, compared to 4,221 and 38.15 in 2012. The numbers are below a 20-year average tracked by the police department.

Reported forcible rape saw the most drastic change from 2012 to 2013. Sixty-seven forcible rapes were reported last year, a 63 percent increase from 2012 and the most reports in the 29-year time period represented in the data.

This is likely because the FBI changed its definition of rape beginning in 2013, Police Department spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said. The new definition is broader and includes acts that would have formerly been considered a "sex offense-other," Stroer said. 

The department will keep a close eye on reported forcible rape numbers in 2014 to see if they remain higher under the new definition, she said.

Other notable points from the department's Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for 2013:

  • An average of 2.10 aggravated assaults were reported per 1,000 people, the fewest in the 29 years tracked by the police department.
  • An average of 1.01 robberies were reported per 1,000 people, the fewest since 2003.
  • Five homicides were reported, which matches the number reported in 2008.
  • 3,490 larcenies were reported, the most since 1997.
  • The police department received a total of 155,944 calls, 507 fewer than in 2012, for an average of 974.65 calls per officer.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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