The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 29, 2014

Neosho police chief provides 2013 year-end report

NEOSHO, Mo. — Neosho police Chief David McCracken in his 2013 year-end report portrays a department that is recovering but still struggling from layoffs during the city’s financial crisis.

“We continue to rebuild the police department after the layoffs,” McCracken wrote in the introduction to the report. “We currently are able to assign 16 patrol officers to answer calls for service. We are able to assign four officers on each shift, not taking into account vacations, sick time, training days and unfilled positions. This is only possible if we continue with 12-hour shifts.”

He provided the report to the City Council last week.

McCracken said in an interview this week that because of the size of the staff, his department still can only react to crimes, rather than prevent them. Before the city’s financial problems were discovered, the department had 29 employees. After, it was cut to 12. Now, the department is up to 20.

McCracken said crime was up about 4 percent in 2013.

“It’s pretty clear that most of the crimes are against property rather than crimes against people,” he said. “It’s hardest to prevent or suppress crimes against property. We’re not able to get out and patrol the neighborhoods and prevent the crimes.”

The report shows burglaries were down nearly 15 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 96 to 82. Larcenies and thefts increased by 10 percent, from 404 to 445. There were five arsons in 2012 and six in 2013. There were 22 vehicle thefts in 2012 and 21 in 2013.

There were no murders or manslaughters in Neosho in 2012 or 2013. There were seven rapes reported in 2012 and six in 2013.

There were two robberies in 2012 and three in 2013.

From the 2012 racial profiling data, of the 1,822 traffic stops, 1,597 drivers were white, 44 were black, 119 were Hispanic, 43 were Asian, six were American Indian and 13 were listed as other. There were 105 arrests from traffic stops, with 73 of those arrested being white, six black, 16 Hispanic, seven Asian, two American Indian and one other.

“The logical conclusion you can draw from the report is we’re profiling white people,” McCracken said.

Cases cleared

OF THE 445 LARCENIES AND THEFTS in 2013 in Neosho, 183 were considered cleared. Twenty of the 82 burglaries in 2013 were listed as cleared. Four of the six rapes were listed as cleared, and one of the three robberies was considered cleared.

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In an effort to curb prostitution, St. Louis police are targeting, and perhaps humiliating, the "johns" who use the services. Postcards mailed to the homes of those charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will offer a reminder about spreading sexually transmitted diseases, along with listing the court date. Do you think this is a good approach?

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