After a ‘remarkable year’ for crime decreases in Dayton, here’s what data show for 2018

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

WHIO-TV's Lauren Clark, while trying to interview neighbors for a news story about John Franz and the criminal charges filed against him, noticed a man who fit Franz's description and dialed 911.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Crime is up in the city of Dayton, driven in part by increases in reports of stolen vehicles, simple assaults, certain prostitution offenses and property crimes like breaking and entering and shoplifting, according to police data.

But the increases are not “terribly surprising” considering that 2017 was a “remarkable year” during which the city saw a double digit reduction in all four major crime categories, said Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl.

Biehl said he couldn’t remember ever seeing decreases of that magnitude in all the major crime groups.

RELATED: Crime plummets in Dayton in 2017: What’s really going on?

While police data through Aug. 9 of this year show crime overall has risen about 4 percent compared to last year, it remains about 7 percent lower than in 2016.

One of the biggest increases was in auto theft. There have been 513 reports of stolen vehicles, compared to 376 last year.

Dayton has one of the highest auto theft rates based on population in Ohio, according to a 2016 study. In January, police in West Dayton urged the public not to leave keys in the ignition of unattended vehicles following a rash of stolen cars.

A significant number of auto thefts this year came after vehicles were left running or keys were left inside, Biehl said.

“We continue to promote crime prevention practices to reduce this number,” he said.

Assisting or promoting prostitution crimes have doubled to about 114. There have been 434 breaking and entering reports, which is a 15 percent increase from 2017, the data show.

Forcible rape also is up 15 percent, shoplifting is up 20 percent and gun crimes have risen 5 percent.

The simple assault category has experienced a small increase mostly due to domestic-related incidents, Biehl said.

There has been one fewer murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incident (21) than through the same period in 2017.

There were 706 residential burglaries between January and early August in 2017, and there were 648 in the same period this year.

Aggravated assaults involving firearms have dropped 28 percent, and drug and narcotic violations, including paraphernalia offenses, have fallen 13 percent.

The top three priorities for the Dayton Police Department this year are reducing gun violence, opioid overdoses and traffic crashes, Biehl said.

Gun crime incidents are down 4.8 percent and gun crime incidents with injury are up 6.5 percent year to date, data show.

Opioid overdose calls for service have decreased 63 percent from 1,785 in 2017 to 658, year to date.

“There has been a combined effort with the community and other organizations to connect those in need with appropriate services to address addiction,” Biehl said.

Injury crashes are down 13 percent and property damage crashes are down 3 percent, year to date. Fatal crashes, however, are up from eight to 13 this year.

Increased arrests in some categories are likely driven by enforcement, Biehl said. That includes work by the narcotics bureau and the police department’s “Place Based Initiatives” which focus on removing crime and problem people and places associated with crime from areas like the North Main Street corridor, officials said.

RELATED: 12 crime stories that shocked the Dayton area in 2017