By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
Lemoore Police Chief Darrel Smith
Lemoore Police Chief Darrel Smith

Crime is up? Crime is down? Well, according to the 2015 Lemoore Police Report, felony crimes decreased by 2 percent (825) while misdemeanor crimes increased, up 13 percent, as Lemoore residents reported 2,019 such crimes. The Lemoore Police Department also responded to 45,828 calls for service in 2015, a two-percent downswing from 2014’s 46,897 calls.

Chief of Police Darrel Smith took nearly two hours presenting the annual report to the Lemoore City Council at its Tuesday council meeting (March 1).

He also told councilmembers that in 2015 there were no homicides, but there were 18 rapes, 389 assaults, 437 larcenies, 110 auto thefts, 160 burglaries and 19 robberies.

Smith’s report also includes statistics on recovered property. He states that over $778,275 in stolen property was recovered by officers in 2015, a whopping increase of 26 percent comparted to a year ago. The most common kind of stolen property continues to be electronic equipment, jewelry, and precious metals. Lemoore officers also recovered 44 stolen vehicles, a big increase over a year ago.

The report states that traffic safety continues to be a problem for Lemoore. “Our department is sensitive to this issue and sets a high priority on responding to concerns and inquiries generated by the public,” stated Smith in the report. “Our highest priority is to reduce vehicle collision rates by ensuring our officers are targeting areas where collisions are occurring and not just writing citations where it was easy to find violations.”

Smith stated that schools continue under the watchful eye of police officers, as the department continues its “Click it or Ticket” campaign which encourages the use of safety belts and child passenger restraints.

There were 235 traffic accidents in Lemoore, as compared to 243 the year before, about a 5 percent decrease. But there were also three fatal accidents last year, the first since 2012

The Kings County Gang Task Force, of which the city is a member, had approximately 100 arrests in 2015.

The Community Relations/Crime Prevention Program continues to be a successful part of the city’s law enforcement efforts, stated Smith. The officers involved in the program are actively involved in various community projects and events, much of the attention given to the Neighborhood Watch Program. There are currently 101 active Neighborhood Watch programs in the city.

The Animal Control Unit experienced a slight decrease in calls as it responded to 1,231 calls, a 15 percent decrease from a year ago.

In 2015 the Lemoore Police Department formed a Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Team to further its mission and address the needs of the community. The team’s goals were to establish additional partnerships within the community and through a proven four-step method, address the concerns of the community.

Since May 1, 2015 the POP Team has provided training to personnel at the police department in regards to the concept and philosophy of Problem Oriented Policing as well as how to address neighborhood issues using various techniques. The Team also provided training in regards to the latest concepts and issues related to vehicle thefts from training they attended to assist with the reduction of vehicle theft in the city.

The Lemoore Police Department’s Police Activities League started this year to reach out to at risk kids in the community and providing them with direction. The program helps them to make quality choices to become responsible citizens. The program also builds relationships between police officers and the youth. Police Officers are a role model for the youth and work with the youth of our community individually and as a group.

“It is with great pride that this annual report reflects the hard work that the employees of the Lemoore Police Department have performed during the 2015 year,” stated Smith. “We continue to work hard to achieve the goal of quality of life improvement for our citizens.”