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Park City: ‘A safe place’

Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City Police Chief Lloyd Evans, trumpeting the Police Department’s annual crime report as evidence, said the city is not a dangerous place for Parkites or visitors.

The department recently released its annual compilation of crime statistics, which showed that reports in categories of major crimes generally dropped between 2004 and 2005.

"I think it’s a safe place. I think we’re very fortunate to live in a community with a low crime rate," Evans said in a Monday interview.

According to the department’s compilation, major crimes reported in the city dropped to 963 in 2005, down 11.3 percent from the previous year. The number of major crimes reported was the lowest since 2001, when 924 were tallied, the compilation said.

Park City rarely witnesses violent crime but the drop in numbers of other categories is encouraging to the Police Department. Officers have long tried to curb crimes like domestic violence, burglaries and vehicle break-ins through education programs and the 2005 numbers seem to illustrate some success.

Some of the notable numbers from the report include:

( Burglary reports dropped to 71 from 102 in 2004. The 2005 tally is the smallest since at least 2001.

( Theft reports retreated to 381, down from 394 in 2004. The number of thefts reported was the lowest since at least 2001.

( Vehicle burglaries were down to 79, tied with 2003 for the fewest since 2001

( Criminal-mischief reports fell to 176, down from 238 reports the year before. The number is the fewest since 2001.

( Abuse reports fell to 84 from 99, the lowest since 2002. However, since 2002, the number of abuse reports is generally up significantly.

There were no homicides, four rapes and three robberies reported. The numbers in those categories were stable.

"Those are negligible for the amount of visitors," Evans said.

The police arrested 670 people in 2005 — 78.7 percent white, 19.9 percent Latino and less than one percent black, Asian or Indian, according to the report. Seventy-seven percent of those arrested were adults.

The number of assaults ticked upward in 2005, rising to 80 from the 67 reported in 2004. The number of assaults was the greatest since at least 2001. Evans said the assaults were frequently between drunken people and he described them as "barroom brawls." He said the number of assaults is low given the amount of partying that occurs in Park City.

Evans noted that the Police Department assigns officers to Main Street and that the officers often conduct bar checks.

"It’s a pretty low number for the volume of parties we have," Evans said.

The police issued 6,986 citations in 2005, up from the 5,330 in 2004 and more than double the number issued in 2003. Evans said most of the citations were issued for traffic violations. The number of traffic accidents, 620, was the most since 675 were tallied in 2001.

The report indicated that the police used force six times — three described as physical, two as with a firearm and one with pepper spray. One officer was alleged to use excessive force, the report said, but the complaint was later dropped.

The Police Department conducted six internal investigations, resulting in three reprimands and one officer sent to counseling. The department sustained complaints against officers for conduct unbecoming of a police officer, inappropriate conduct, a code of conduct probe and improperly operating a vehicle.

People, meanwhile, lodged eight complaints against the Police Department, resulting in officer counseling twice.

"The lack thereof of crime in and of itself is a conversation to be had," Evans said.


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