LINCOLN, Neb. Friday the Lincoln Police Department released its 2019 crime statistics. The report also compares stats to give us a better idea of crime trends over the last decade.
Overall crime was down just slightly from 2018. One category that increased slightly from last year was violent crime that includes rape, murder, robbery and aggravated assault.
In 2019 the Lincoln Police Department responded to just shy of 121,000 calls. While many of the major incidents make headlines only about two percent of calls were for violent crimes.
“It gains our attention too,” said Chief Jeff Bliemeister with LPD. “We have units dedicated to the follow-up of that but it’s such a small part of what the role a Lincoln police officer is.”
About 80 percent falls into the “other” category for items like disturbances, traffic hazards and minor assaults.
From 2010 to 2019 annual sexual assault reports increased 125 percent. LPD is working to increase the turnaround time to process sexual assault kits and analyze forensic evidence in these cases.
“23 percent of those 324 cases were belated by more than a year, so it was more than a year between when the incident occurred to when it was reported,” said Chief Bliemeister.
Two trends that have increased significantly in the past decade is the number of surveillance video requests and the digital forensic exams both up over 200 percent. In the case of surveillance video requests it’s up 341 percent.
“Video surveillance systems in business, homes, on streets, they’re everywhere,” said Chief Bliemeister. “It’s that corroboration that’s expected in every case that we do whether it’s a homicide or vandalism.”
LPD acknowledges that they, along with many police departments across the country, continue to struggle with recruiting.
Since 2010 the number of police officers hired annually has increased about 70 percent but the number of applicants has decreased about 60 percent.
Chief Bliemeister says LPD is focusing on a few things in 2020. To work with public officials to strengthen the agency, continue to build trust and legitimacy with people in Lincoln and to expand their use of technology platforms to prevent crimes and hold those responsible for committing violent crimes.