NEW GARDEN—Crime was down dramatically last year in New Garden Township and West Grove, according to a recently released report by the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department.
Major, or Part One crimes (murder, kidnapping, rape, burglary and robbery, aggravated assault) and Part Two crimes (criminal mischief, harassment, vandalism, disorderly conduct) were down 2 percent last year over 2017. In all, total crime activity declined 4 percent last year, compared to 2017, according to the report
Burglary in New Garden and West Grove saw an overall reduction of 36 percent.
“This is a result from having dedicated investigators who are trained and equipped to handle complex cases,” said Gerald Simpson, chief of the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department. “We believe that having a proactive and visible policing model creates an atmosphere of omnipresence and thus deterring the opportunities to commit crimes.”
Calls for service wer up 5 percent, fueled by the creation of the regional police force.
There was a 7 percent increase in traffic accidents last year, perhaps due to the record rainfall in Chester County in 2018. There was one fatal accident, and 29 hit-and-run accidents, according to the report.
Traffic citations increased by 38 percent. Police actively sought aggressive drivers last year, the report noted.
DUI arrests were up by 66 percent, and 29 percent of all DUI arrests were drug-related. There were 173 DUI arrests in 2018.
“The data suggests that this is a result of officers being better trained to detect driving under the influence of alcohol, but also under the influence of drugs,” Simpson said.
Last year, the budget for the regional police department was $2.59 million, or about $129,000 per officer.
“Our efforts to stabilize public safety costs have succeeded,” Simpson said. “Partnering has created a reduction in overall costs.”
One additional police officer hired for 2019, allowing the creation of a Traffic Safety Unit. Simpson said the officer’s duty will include collision and speed analysis and fleet management. The department received a COPS Hiring award of $125,000 over a three-year span, offsetting the expenses of hiring the new officer.
Ground was broken in September of last year for new police facility. The new police facility will open this summer.
Police had to use their firearms to kill seven deer struck by vehicles.
The department has an officer – Mario Raimato - dedicated for patrolling the three Kennett Consolidated schools that are in in New Garden township: Bancroft Elementary, New Garden elementary and the Kennett Middle School.