By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
On the surface, the numbers look troubling.
Seen in proper perspective, however, the situation isn’t so bad.
On Nov. 2, Keizer Police Chief Marc Adams sent an update to city manager Chris Eppley, who in turn forwarded the messages to city councilors and Mayor Lore Christopher.
One part of the update seemed noteworthy.
“Residential burglaries up 29 percent this October compared to last October,” Adams wrote.
Christopher shared the data and the rest of Adams’ update on her Facebook page Nov. 5.
Taken at face value, the number seems troubling and seems to indicate a rash of burglaries in Keizer during October.
Not so, according to Capt. Jeff Kuhns with the Keizer Police Department.
“We went from seven burglaries in October 2011 to nine in October 2012,” Kuhns said. “That’s the danger of taking a quick peek at particular crime categories: it can seem much worse than it really is, when in reality it is just an increase of two burglaries.”
Christopher noted any increase in burglaries is not a surprise, based on reduced staffing levels with the police department.
“Our staffing level is at 90 percent,” the mayor said. “You can’t be proactive at that level. All of your manpower is on patrol. We’ve made this decision as a community. We don’t have the crew that dealt with gangs and drugs.
“We’re not asking the people for any money,” Christopher added. “We went out to a vote and they said no to more money for police. It’s just important to know burglaries are up.”
Kuhns noted the KPD website (www.keizerpd.com) has a variety of stats, including links to crime statistics and annual reports down the right side and crime reports data down the left side.
“You can go to our website for all of our stats,” Kuhns said. “A majority of our reports go to crimereports.com, which is a leader in that sort of thing nationally. We partner with them.”
On the KPD website, crime reports data can be altered in categories such as types of crimes displayed and how far back to track, from three days to 30 days.
“It’s really a fascinating system,” Kuhns said.