Porter County crime down in 2013, report shows
BY AMY LAVALLEY Post-Tribune correspondent February 15, 2014 10:22AM
Updated: March 18, 2014 6:11AM
VALPARAISO — Overall crime was down in Porter County last year, according to figures released by Porter County Sheriff David Lain.
The most serious of crimes, including murder, assault and theft, dropped, for an overall decrease of 6.58 percent from 2012.
While there weren’t any murders — the county had two in 2012 — the number of rapes went up to four, from three in 2012. Robbery also tripled, from two robberies in 2012 to six last year.
“When you’re talking about violent crime, the numbers are so low, it skews the percentages,” Lain said after releasing the statistics report on Thursday. “In the overall heading of pubic safety, I think the numbers show Porter County is a very safe place to live.”
At the same time, the number of criminal arrests went up about 24 percent over last year.
The number of DUI arrests alone climbed by more than 52 percent for 2013. Lain considered that a positive, the culmination of extra patrols at the holidays, the work of a task force on drunken driving, and other measures.
Drug related arrests, meanwhile dropped by about 6 percent, a difference of 10 fewer arrests last year.
“That’s pretty much static. It shows we’re still having an impact,” Lain said.
The sheriff’s department handled 48,303 calls last year, a 14-percent increase in call volume.
“That’s the number of things we respond to and it’s up again significantly,” Lain said. The number has jumped up by several thousand calls each of the past several years. “It’s because we’re getting more populous.”
One crime that’s not in the statistics — at least not yet — is a homicide. The body of Ruben Paredes, 32, of Akron, Ind., was found in a Boone Township drainage ditch in April.
He died of a gunshot would and his death was classified as a homicide, but the case hasn’t been solved. He disappeared in early February of 2012 and investigators found his car in Chicago, but there’s no evidence that he was actually killed in Porter County.
The crime is not classified because the case is still open, Lain said.
Looking ahead, the department will have crime mapping data available in the next four to six weeks. The program is being made available through a NiSource grant to Indiana University-Northwest, Lain said.
“It’s going to help us to best know where to deploy our forces,” he said, adding the information also will be available to the community.
The mapping will allow the department to concentrate efforts where they’re needed most, and respond to any hot spots of criminal activity.
“It will help us allocate our patrol resources appropriately,” said Sgt. Larry LaFlower, the department’s public information officer.