MERRILLVILLE | Police Chief Joseph Petruch isn't discouraged by the slight increase in overall crime in 2012 in Merrillville.
A recently released report from the Police Department shows total case reports rose from 3,200 in 2011 to 3,221 in 2012.
Petruch said a manpower shortage and budget constraints have presented challenges for the department, but "we're holding steady."
Theft reports increased from 1,018 in 2011 to 1,125 in 2012, according to the report.
Murders, rapes and robberies were among other areas that increased, Petruch said.
In 2012, the town reported three murders, six rapes and 39 robberies, according to the report. There were two murders, three rapes and 36 robberies in 2011.
The town saw a drop in some areas, including burglary, motor vehicle theft and domestic violence.
The report shows Merrillville had 146 burglaries, 123 motor vehicle thefts and 33 domestic violence reports in 2012. There were 159 burglaries, 150 motor vehicle thefts and 54 domestic violence reports in 2011.
Merrillville has 45 police officers, Petruch said. He would like to see the force increase to 54.
"We have to work with what we have," he said.
Although the department is short-staffed, Petruch said crime in Merrillville isn't out of control.
"We're trying to keep the community safe," he said.
Petruch believes increasing his personnel could help the department become more proactive and reduce crime.
For example, if there is a rash of thefts in the community, additional officers would provide the ability to use saturation patrols to address the issue, he said.