Serious crime dips in De Soto last year
Figures the Johnson County Sheriff's Department reported to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation indicates the rate of serious crime in De Soto fell 9 percent in 2003 from the pervious year.
The report indicates a total of 214 serious crimes occurred in De Soto last year. That was the fewest in a three-year period starting in 2001.
Johnson County Sheriff's Department spokesman Tim Erickson said nothing stood out in the annual number other than burglary.
"There are no large up or down differences for any of the offenses," he said. "The numbers remained pretty steady."
The annual survey reports criminal activity for two categories. Felonies and serious misdemeanors offenses charged through Johnson County District Court and misdemeanors charged to De Soto Municipal Court. Offenses forwarded to district court include battery, murder rape and other violent crimes, vandalism, arson and other crimes against property and violent offenses like gambling.
Far more significant was the increase in non-felony citations handed out last year. Those offenses, which include such things as disorderly conduct and driving under the influence, increased 30 percent from 2002 to a total of 214 offenses.
Similarly, Sheriff's deputies wrote 881 traffic citations in De Soto during 2003, a total that included those given to drivers on the section of Kansas Highway 10 that is in the city limits. That was a 17 percent increase from 2002 when 750 traffic tickets were issued.
Erickson said a number of department programs played a part in the increase of misdemeanor and traffic citations. He and De Soto City Administrator Greg Johnson agreed the so-called power shift, which placed an additional patrol car in De Soto daily during an eight-hour period, could have attributed to the increase. The power shift was contracted in late 2002 but was discontinued because of budget constraints in August.
The added number of misdemeanor charges and traffic citations did provide the city more revenue. The De Soto Municipal Court collected $88,600 in court costs, fines and other fees in 2003 compared to $78,500 the year before, Johnson said.
In what might not be a coincidence, traffic accidents fell to a three-year low in De Soto as citations increased. According to the report, there were 114 accidents in the city last year compared to 136 in 2002 and 129 in 2001. De Soto also recorded the lowest number of injury accidents during the same three-year time span with 13, which was 12 fewer than 2002 and eight fewer than 2001. However, last year's total included the only fatal accident recorded during that same three-year time span.