The City of Conway saw an 8 percent decrease in violent crimes from 2009 to 2010, according to the Conway Police Department’s annual report.

Despite a 100 percent increase in murders, the number of rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults fell during the last year.

Four murders were reported in 2010 compared to just two in 2009. Police responded to 19 incidents of rape in 2010, down 21 percent from the 24 in 2009. Last year, CPD recorded 48 robberies, 11 less than the 59 reported the previous 12 months. The number of aggravated assaults also decreased slightly, from 154 in 2009 to 150 in 2010.

Conway’s four murders were the most the city had seen in the past seven years, while the 19 rape cases were the fewest reported during that time span. 2010’s 48 robberies were the lowest total since 2005.

The number of property crimes in the city remained nearly the same as the previous year. Conway police were called to 2,562 property crimes in 2010 compared to 2,560 in 2009.

Conway saw a one percent decrease in burglaries, from 451 in 2009 to 446 in 2010, and a 24 percent drop in motor vehicle thefts with 125 in 2009 and 95 in 2010.

Thefts were on the rise with 2,012 reported in 2010, up from 1,980 in 2009. According to the report, there were nine arson cases, a 125 percent increase from four in 2009.

The 95 motor vehicle thefts in 2010 was the lowest total in seven years and showed a significant decrease since 2006’s 184, the peak of motor vehicle thefts over the seven-year span.

The report noted that over the past seven years "while the population in Conway has risen significantly, there has been no significant rise in crime." The annual report estimates that the population of Conway increased by more than 10,000 residents from 2004-2010.

"We’re always looking for innovative ways to help us decrease crime," CPD Chief A.J. Gary said. "Just because it has decreased, doesn’t mean we’re happy with that decrease. We want it as low as it can go."

Gary attributed part of the decrease in crime to geographical policing and hopes weekly crime analysis meetings will help cut that number even more.

Gary said the Personal Property Enhanced Property Program, which encourages residents to log serial numbers and pertinent information of more expensive or sensitive items, has helped police recover a number of stolen items and provided evidence with which to charge a suspect for the theft.

Gary also noted that patrol officers’ knowledge of their assigned district will help curb crime in that area. He mentioned that being aware while on patrol will allow CPD to inform owners what they could do to help reduce crime. As an example, Gary said officers could inform apartment complex managers that more lighting in the parking lot could play a factor in crime reduction.

The CPD annual report also offered information on 2010 crime by division.

The CPD Criminal Investigation Division worked 1,849 cases, a 13 percent increase from 2009.

In the 337 narcotics cases opened, Conway police seized $549,032 worth of illegal drugs, served 18 search warrants and took control of six methamphetamine labs. Despite a 1.5 percent increase in cases from 2009, the division saw a decrease in the monetary value of drugs seized, search warrants served and methamphetamine labs confiscated.

The K9 unit was used 92 times in 2010 and $7,437 in drug money was secured.

The Criminal Investigation Division made 4,226 adult arrests and 528 juvenile arrests in 2010.

According to Gary, patrol officers "are doing more crime scene investigations than ever before." He said officers, instead of only taking report information, are processing scenes for many incidents, including burglaries and vehicle break-ins. Gary said officers "taking that extra step" are allowing further investigation in the case and, in several instances, producing arrests. Gary said evidence collected at crime scenes has produced "numerous hits" from the state crime lab on fingerprints, as well as DNA.

The CPD Patrol Division reported an increase in a number of citations given, but noted a decrease in DWI/DUI arrests and pursuits in 2010.

The annual report states that patrol reported 14 police pursuits last year, a 13 percent decrease from 2009. Conway police worked 3,389 accidents, two percent more than 2009.

DWI/DUI arrests saw a five percent decrease from the previous year with 211 in 2010.

Citations, such as "no seat belt" and "no child restraint," increased 115 percent and 38 percent, respectively, last year.

Conway police wrote citations for 1,140 "no seat belt" violations and 80 " no child restraint" offenses.

The patrol division also noted that the SWAT team was utilized 11 times in 2010 for a number of incidents, including narcotics search warrants and barricaded suspects.

Conway police officers logged over 15,000 hours of training in 2010, including National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) and Spanish language training.

CPD also implemented an Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, making it a mandatory training course for all patrol officers.

Six officers graduated from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, two sergeants graduated from the School of Law Enforcement Supervision and two officers graduated with bachelor’s degrees.

The CPD records department processed 11,091 incident reports and 5,315 citations in 2010, whlie a total of 4,013 warrants were served. The Conway Emergency Operations Center handled 24,351 9-1-1 calls and 54,785 calls for service.

To read the entire 2010 Conway Police Department Annual Report, visit www.conwaypd.org.

(Staff writer Stephanie Fischer can be reached by e-mail at stephanie.fischer@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1238. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)