Archive for Thursday, February 12, 2009

Traffic citations increase sharply

February 12, 2009

Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies had a busy 2008 in De Soto, making 20 percent more arrest for serious crimes than the year before.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office’s annual year-end report tracks two different criminal categories: Felonies and serious misdemeanors charged through Johnson County District Court and less serious misdemeanor offenses handled by De Soto Municipal Court.

Of the more serious violations, the report shows an increase in a number of crimes such as foregery, fraud, robbery, burglary and larceny/theft that could be contributed to a worsening economy.

The De Soto increase was at odds with sheriff deputies’ arrests for serious crimes throughout the county, which fell from 777 in 2007 to 721 in 2008 for a 7 percent decline. The county overall also did not show a consistent increase in crimes related to a bad economy with burglary and stolen property offenses both down.

Without comment on last year’s trend, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the department would be prepared for any spike in criminal activity related to the economy.

“We’re always anticipating increases in every area,” he said. “With our contract with De Soto and having a district officer and contractural officer there 40 hours a week, we are prepared for anything that comes our way.

“We have directed patrol units, and if we notice we have more issues in a particular area we can direct more resources there to control it.”

The trend in violent crimes against person were mixed with two fewer arrests for assault, three more for battery and two arrest of kidnapping/abduction. Up noticeably from one in 2007 to seven in 2008 was forced sexual offenses. There were no arrests for non-forced sexual offenses in 2008, compared to the three in 2007.

Driving under the influence arrests increased significantly in De Soto the past year with 71 such citations issued compared to 50 in 2007. Also on the rise were citations for driving on a suspended, revoked or canceled driver’s licenses. Sheriff’s deputies issued 89 such tickets in 2008 compared to 50 the year before.

In 2008, 943 tickets were issued for speeding on De Soto streets and the section of Kansas Highway 10 that passes through the city. Despite record high gas prices during much of the year that should have encouraged motorists to slow down, there was a 22 percent increase from 2007 when 773 speeding tickets were issued.

In all, 1,636 traffic tickets were written in the city in 2008, 20 more than the year before.

There were 106 accidents in De Soto last year, which was an increase of seven from 2007. Of those, 94 were non-injury accidents and 12 involved at least one injury.

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