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Report: Major crime down in McCracken County

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

A drop in McCracken County's crime rate for 2013 could be because of an aggressive and proactive drug enforcement philosophy, Sheriff Jon Hayden said.

Crime statistics that detail the McCracken County Sheriff's Department's arrest data for 2013 show violent crime dropped by 18 percent in 2013, while property crimes rose by 2 percent. Arrests for driving while intoxicated, along with arrests for drug offenses, climbed by 19 percent, Hayden said.

"When it comes to drug enforcement, you gauge success differently," Hayden said. "For example, a patrol deputy is largely reactive. He gets calls and reacts. Drug enforcement and criminal investigation is proactive. You have to get out there and beat the bushes and make things happen. So many of the crimes we have are associated with a drug addiction."

Part I crimes, which focus on violent crimes against people, were down in almost every category. Rapes dropped 7 percent, while burglaries declined by 36 percent in 2013. Larceny and auto theft were also down. Assaults, however, rose by 21 percent last year.

There were no murders in McCracken County or Paducah city last year.

Part II crimes also showed an across-the-board drop. Forgery was down 66 percent; fraud dropped 53 percent, and sex offenses lessened by 44 percent. Weapons violations were also down 35 percent. Drug offenses, however, were up by 40 percent.

Collision data showed that the number of fatalities from car wrecks was down by 57 percent in 2013 - three in 2013 as compared to seven in 2012 - and injury wrecks decreased by 7 percent. Hayden said that this is, in part, due to being in the same geographic area as the Paducah Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Unit. It also could be because Hayden's team has been more aggressive with DUI enforcement.

"It would appear that everything we have been working toward is starting to fall into place," Hayden said. "We're being proactive. The deputies have been highly visible. It's all coming together."

This is the second straight year crime in the county has gone down. In 2012, Part I crimes were down 15 percent and Part II crimes dropped 12 percent.

"Overall, I would say I am pleased," Hayden said. "Everything we do is to make our crime rate go down, and we have every reason to be happy with the results this year."

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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