City of Lincoln
2009 Media Releases
Crime rate at lowest point since 1970s
Mayor Chris Beutler and Police Chief Tom Casady today released crime statistics for calendar year 2008 showing that the City's overall reported crime fell by 13 percent compared to 2007. The number of crimes fell from 13,063 to 11,381 - that's the lowest number since 1985, despite a 70,000 increase in Lincoln's population. When adjusted for population, the crime rate (the number of crimes divided by the population) is at its lowest point since the early 1970s.
The Mayor said efficient and effective policing has been an important factor in lowering the crime rate. "The number of total arrests, traffic citations and drunk driving arrests all increased during 2008," he said. "The percentage of crimes cleared also reached its highest level in recent decades."
At the same time, the Mayor said the entire community plays a role in keeping Lincoln safe and in reducing the impact of crime. He cited the Stronger, Safer Neighborhoods Initiative as an example.
"Community residents are energized and are volunteering their time and effort to improve properties and increase safety," Beutler said. "We are fortunate to live in a community with attractive neighborhoods, vibrant businesses, and involved citizens. All of those factors are important in keeping this a safe community and in preserving and protecting the quality of life we treasure here."
Mayor Beutler said residents of Lincoln chose safety and security as their top priority a year ago through the PRIORITY LINCOLN public involvement process. "These statistics tell us that we continue to do a great job in this area," he said. "We also must consider that safety and security contribute to nearly all of the other community outcomes we are trying to achieve: economic development, livable neighborhoods, healthy and productive people and effective transportation."
Casady said the decline in crime over the past 20 years is a national phenomenon in the U.S. Crime statistics are compiled by the Lincoln Police Department as part of the FBI's national Uniform Crime Reporting program, which tracks murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft and larceny theft. In Lincoln, all crime categories fell except for a 30-percent increase in the number of robberies from 167 to 217. Casady said the increase was largely driven by street robberies, and added that 32 percent of the reported robberies were cleared.
Burglaries dropped by 19 percent in 2008, with 367 fewer offenses. While felony arrests fell 5 percent, criminal arrests were up by 1,622, and misdemeanor arrests increased by 1,766. "A major factor specific to Lincoln is the improved ability of our department to manage information, conduct investigations and formulate problem-oriented strategies based on knowledge," Casady said. "We engage in strategies that go beyond taking the next report. Problem solving is part of our organizational culture."
Traffic citations and DWI arrests also have increased, while the number of traffic accidents investigated by LPD was the lowest in decades. Over the past 15 years, the crash rate (crashes per million miles driven) in Nebraska has fallen by more than one third. "Lincoln's decline has been particularly impressive," Casady said. "Good engineering is critical, but enforcement of traffic laws also contributes to enhanced safety. Making traffic stops and issuing citations may not be glamorous, but it reduces property losses, prevents injury and truly saves lives. It probably has a more immediate impact on safety than almost anything we do."
Crime data are reported to the FBI by more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide and serve as the basis for most published crime statistics, crime rate comparisons and historical comparisons of crime reported to the police in the U.S.