CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Calls for service were up but incidents of serious crime were down in Jasper County in 2013, according to an annual report released by the Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to 28,636 calls for service during the year, compared with 22,121 a year earlier.
The department recorded a 13 percent decrease in serious crimes, including murder, rape, robbery, burglary and theft, which are categorized as Part 1 crimes in federal tracking.
The largest decrease was in thefts, down 18 percent for the year, according to Capt. Derek Walrod, who heads the patrol division.
Deputies investigated one murder, three robberies, two rapes, 311 burglaries and 360 theft reports for the year.
Sheriff Randee Kaiser said the annual report is the first one completed since he took office in January 2013.
The sheriff cited two moves made during the year — the return of sheriff’s administrative offices to a county-owned building on the Carthage square and the return of county dispatching services to the Jasper County Emergency Services Board.
The department also installed a new radio system during the year, and Kaiser cited work with other, smaller departments toward implementing a countywide radio system. The effort, he said, is designed to improve communication among law enforcement in the county and save smaller agencies the cost of having to maintain their own radio systems.
The department also started a community oriented policing program that worked in two areas of the county to increase deputies’ contacts with residents in an effort to reduce crime and address other issues.
The first, in an area east of Joplin, added patrols to increase visibility, and reduce speeding and some vandalism problems. Deputies also combined with church groups and other volunteers on a community work day.
The second, in an area south of Carl Junction and west of Joplin, focused on problems including speeding, burglaries and thefts. Deputies organized a “safety day” for residents to meet with department members. More than 60 residents attended the event, which included children’s activities and a meeting at which residents could raise concerns and ask questions.
Also during the year, contractors completed a $588,000 project to upgrade security, monitoring and communication systems in the county jail.
Kaiser said the department also implemented some programs for inmates aimed at addressing drug and alcohol problems.
“These aren’t our programs, but they’re (drug and alcohol) rehab and faith-based programs, and we’re getting them into jail and getting people into structured meetings if they want them,” he said. “Some of these programs continue to work with inmates after they get released to help them gain employment and continue their rehabilitation.
“We think it will, at least to some degree, reduce problems with people continually ending up back in jail.”
THE TRANSPORTATION DIVISION of the sheriff’s office in 2013 logged more than 106,000 miles transporting 2,800 inmates to court and about 220 to various Department of Corrections sites across the state.