Crime increases as officer/resident ratio remains below U.S. average

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) - An analysis of local crime data recently released from the Cheyenne Police Department shows an increase in crime and a decline in police resources. CPD currently only has an authorized staffing of 1.63 officers per 1,000 Cheyenne residents, the lowest staffing it has had in recent history. To reach the U.S average of 2.3 officers per 1,000 residents, the department would have to fill an additional 42 positions. This decrease in the number of officers available to respond to calls has left officers responding to calls without a backup officer. Last year, reports show an increase in assaults on officers with 169 incidents that involved the suspect being actively aggressive toward the police. The department saw a 12 percent increase in calls for service from 2014 to 2015, leaving patrol officers to handle 33 percent more calls than officers in similar communities. Average response time for a call that is not in progress is at 40 minutes, due to this lack in resources. Unable to investigate all crimes, police are now investigating crimes based on a prioritization schedule. Due to several factors that other communities may not have, Cheyenne has a crime rate above the U.S. average. During Cheyenne Frontier Days, the city sees an influx of people and with it an influx of crime. The city also attracts people to the area year-round for the region’s retail shopping, which also leads to an increase in theft. Additionally, some residents have a perception that crime is low, and as result, fail to secure their valuables. The city saw a 16 percent increase in Part 1 crimes in 2015 and an 81 percent increase in violent crime, which is still 46 percent below the U.S. average. "I am very proud of the committed service our employees are providing our citizens, despite declining resources,” said Chief of Police Brian Kozak. Even with declining resources, CPD has been able to lower the crime rate almost 40% during the last six years to a point where it was equal to US average in 2014. This was done by becoming more efficient in the way the department communicates with the public, responds to false alarms, and manages civil calls and private property crashes. #shortgo #news