2009 sees drop in number of reported crimes in Sedalia

February 20, 2010

Proactive work by Sedalia Police officers during 2009 helped decrease the number of crimes reported in the city by nearly 10 percent.

According to the 2009 annual report released by police last week, all crimes including assaults, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, arsons, thefts and sexual battery reports decreased since 2008. What caused the change?

“It’s the hard work done by the men and women that work here,” Police Chief John DeGonia said.

In addition to the decrease in crimes, detectives with the Criminal Investigations Bureau investigated more than 500 crimes against people and property and had a clearance rate of 63 percent. The national average clearance rate is 33 percent.

“We have a very proactive approach to drugs and crime,” DeGonia said.

During 2009, the department conducted an eight-month undercover investigation, Operation ERIN, that resulted in 28 arrests. DeGonia said drugs are the root of most crime in the area, so he added another officer to the drug unit.

Each morning, officers meet to discuss incidents from the previous day and overnight. The meetings help inform officers of trends to focus on in specific areas.

Robberies (24) were the same in 2008 and 2009.

The number of homicides rose from zero in 2008 to two in 2009. DeGonia said the two homicides were a person providing prescription pills to someone who died and a person who killed a known acquaintance from an on-going domestic relationship.

“Any death is tragic,” DeGonia said.

While the homicide numbers rose, DeGonia said they are not out of control.

“Still, two is too many,” DeGonia said.

DeGonia said he would still like to see motor vehicle theft numbers decline. Officers continue to inform residents to keep their vehicle locked and not to leave their keys in vehicles, which are factors that potential thieves look for.

While many incidents are beyond officers’ control, DeGonia said he is pleased with this year’s report and continues to take a proactive approach to law enforcement.

The report is provided to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and then to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.