Living in a rural town does not protect citizens from crime, according to the Abilene Police Department’s annual crime map, now accessible online.
The Abilene Police Department divided the city into 100 districts and created a map that represents each district’s crime rate. The map, accessible at www.reporternews.com, reflects statistics from 2008, said Kathi Rhodes, community services officer for the Abilene Police Department.
The map is used for the APD’s annual crime analysis, among other things. It is also distributed to people interested in moving to Abilene, Rhodes said.
“People may say ‘I’m thinking about moving to this address,’ and we don’t give them specific reports for that address, but I’d tell them yearly stats for the area,” she said. “You can do a million different things with it.”
Rhodes said the APD has been compiling such a map for about 20 years, and she anticipates 2009 statistics will be available next month. With or without the numbers, she advises students and community members to maintain crime awareness.
“Not to be a victim is to be more aware,” she said. “Don’t leave things in your cars that you don’t want taken. We don’t want it to be a mobile file cabinet.”
Jimmy Ellison, ACU chief of police, said the ACU Police Department notes crime patterns on and off campus during the past year, and he gave similar advice to students.
“One of the trends we noticed was a slight reduction of car burglaries on campus, but we saw an increase off campus,” he said. “It’s a citywide problem.”
Ellison said he attributes the decrease of on-campus car burglaries to increased patrols, higher staffing and higher awareness.
Despite the decrease in burglaries, crime is still a possibility on campus. Ellison encourages students to lock their cars, hide their valuables when parked and avoid leaving backpacks and laptops unattended.
“A vast number of burglaries are just unlocked cars,” he said. “People are looking for cars, and the public forgets to lock cars – it just compounds the problem.”
Ellison and Rhodes said awareness is key to crime prevention.
“Citizens don’t think how easily they can become the victim of a crime,” Ellison said.
“Many people think ‘Oh, it’s Abilene, I don’t need to lock my house.’ Well, yeah, you do,” Rhodes said. “And your windows.”
The Abilene Police Department reported 61 incidents in crime district 23. These are the most frequent violations:
13Â Burglary, vehicle
7Â Â Â Assault
7Â Â Â Criminal mischief
5Â Â Â Arrest, warrant
4Â Â Â Burglary, residence
3Â Â Â Driving while intoxicated
3Â Â Â Theft, bicycle
2Â Â Â Deadly conduct
2Â Â Â Fraud, ID
2Â Â Â Public intoxication
1Â Â Â Sexual assault
1Â Â Â Graffiti
1Â Â Â Death investigation
1 Â Â Manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance
1 Â Â Possession, paraphernalia