Crime was down slightly in Rochester last year, but serious offenses and drug crimes involving heroin use are up.
Rochester Police Department Chief Roger Peterson and statistic analyst Joe Koncur shared the stats with City Council members and community member Monday afternoon, in a look-back at 2016.
The good news is in 2016 RPD received less incident reports than the year prior, however, Chief Peterson said at the same time, those calls that were received seemed to be more serious in nature, and required more officers to respond.
A few more officers were added to the force in the last year, which has been helpful given the need for more officers per call.
In total, 58,570 incident reports were made last year, which is down from 59,533 reports in 2015.
Chief Peterson said there has been an increase in misdemeanor assault and drug abuse offenses, especially heroin use.
He said there have been many heroin-related deaths due to overdose, most likely due to higher restrictions on prescription painkillers, which causes people to turn to heroin.
On a positive note, there has been a decrease in meth-related arrests.
Chief Peterson also added that drug sales are often the trigger for violence.
"We also see marijuana trafficking, which is, frankly, not high on our radar for enforcement, except for the fact that there's a lot of violence associated with it. And when we've seen many of the issues that are immediate concern, such as drive-by shootings and robberies, they've actually been involved with marijuana trafficking," said Chief Peterson.
As far as traffic stops go, between the years 2008 to 2016, the number of stops has decreased from about 1200 per year to 800 per year, respectively.
But in the same time period, there has been an increase in psych-related incidents.
In the past several months, talks about adding racial diversity to the force have been at the forefront.
Running parallel, Chief Peterson said decisions on enforcement are not to be made based on race, gender, and age.
He also said that is working on learning what those triggers to crimes are, and are doing their best to tackle those triggers to decrease crime in our city.