Crime in Hammond falls by 6 percent in 2012

2013-01-11T20:30:00Z 2013-01-12T01:16:05Z Crime in Hammond falls by 6 percent in 2012Chelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Crime fell by 6 percent in Hammond in 2012, with the city seeing fewer murders, burglaries and auto thefts than the previous year, recently released statistics show.

The number of rapes fell by 60 percent in 2012, with murders down by 33 percent from nine cases in 2011 to six in 2012. In all, 4,149 crimes were reported in 2012, down from 4,406 in 2011.

“This year underscores the great work done by my police officers and detectives,” Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said.

Miller referenced a new program the department has with the inspections and legal departments, which cites problem landlords, as a strategy the city has used to decrease crime.

“Most (landlords) are very good and they take in decent people ... and we have those that aren't (as good). And when they have a problem property, we cite them for maintaining a common nuisance on the rental and force them to come to court,” Miller said.

Miller said the program is effective because it can move problem tenants out of the area and quiets down neighborhoods.

“Some will be drug houses,” Miller said. "The person bonds out, and not long after the arrest, they go back to selling drugs at the same location.”

The inspections department can track how many police calls certain properties receive and the nature of the calls, said Jim Callahan, chief of inspections.

Once the department sees three or four calls for drugs or other incidents of a serious nature, the city attorney is notified of the property.

“We do an inspection on it almost immediately,” Callahan said. “We let the landlord know there's a problem tenant here. A lot of the landlords say they didn't know. It's working out really well. I think it's one of the best programs that we have.”

While the overall numbers show improvement, Hammond saw an uptick in aggravated assaults, robberies and arsons, according to the statistics the department forwards annually to the federal Uniform Crime Report.

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