Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff’s department rarely encounters murders, rapes and armed robberies, so a rise in domestic violence cases last year caught his eye.
Domestic violence cases reported in the city jumped from 32 in 2017 to 46 last year.
“We go to a lot of family fights,” Kruithoff said, noting this probably runs counter to the public perception of Springboro, an affluent Dayton suburb of less than 20,000 residents.
Asked what he thought caused the latest domestic violence uptick, Kruithoff said, “I think it’s probably the posture the courts are taking with it.”
Kruithoff said crime should be expected to fluctuate from year to year, but Springboro had no murders last year and listed one rape and four aggravated assaults in its reports.
As part of the launch of investigations into crime trends in the region the Dayton Daily News is focusing this week on what issues residents face in five local communities. Stories will be delivered throughout the year and past articles will be available at DaytonDailyNews.com.
Murder case tied to domestic violence
Kruithoff came to town in 2002, and the only homicide reported since involves a shaken infant case from July 2011 in which the child died in May 2016.
Jason Milby, the man charged, is already in prison after being convicted of child endangering in the initial case. He’s now awaiting trial on murder charges filed last year in the death of Bryce Shannon, 7, one of his fiance’s sons.
Milby was babysitting Shannon and two of his siblings.
The victim’s mother married Milby and supported him during two child endangering trials. The jury split in the first trial, but Milby was convicted of child endangering in his second trial and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Last year, nearly done with his prison term, Milby was indicted on murder charges.
The new charges were filed after the boy, 7, was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Southview Hospital on May 24, 2016, from “lobar pneumonia due to complication of remote traumatic brain injury,” according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. Lobar refers to a lobe or part of the lung.
Milby faces 15 years to life.
Domestic violence countywide problem
Warren County Domestic Relations Judge Jeff Kirby lives in Springboro. He cited data indicating domestic violence is a growing countywide problem.
Last year, Kirby’s court processed 504 petitions for civil protection orders, 50 more than in 2017 and 141 more than in 2016. He declined to speculate on the reasons for the upward trend.
“We have a number of principles we instill right from the beginning of every case to let people know that our focus is on encouraging spouses to be part of the solution to the family’s problems, not respond in a way that just adds to the problems. It goes without saying that there is never an excuse to resort to threatening or violent behavior,” Kirby said.
New crime-fighting technology
Springboro averaged about four auto thefts a year this decade until reaching 10 last year, according to FBI and city police crime statistics.
Kruithoff expressed optimism about new technologies being used to fight crimes, such as car break-ins.
In 2019, Springboro will join Cincinnati, Bellbrook, Miamisburg, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Beavercreek, Miami Twp., Kettering, Troy and Miami County Sheriff’s Office, in using the the Lexis Nexis community crime map.
Tom Sizer, senior director of public safety market planning for the company, said the map uses crime reports submitted by the participating agencies as well as crime tips submitted from anyone in the community.
“Anyone can go there,” Sizer said.
The map is a free service to the community and law enforcement agencies.
The map enables users to view the area and crime reports down to the block level, but not individual residences.
More than 1,600 communities across the country submit data for the map.
“We generally get updates at least once a day, many agencies will send it throughout the day. It’s very current,” Sizer said.
Kruithoff said he was counting on the other departments to submit timely reports.
Springboro reports were not showing up yet last week, but are expected to be added soon.
With this information, Kruithoff said steps can be taken to counter problems in neighborhoods or with a certain crime or criminals working in the area.
“When we see that trend coming, we’ll be able to identify it a lot quicker,” Kruithoff said.
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