A look at crimes within the city limits of Platte City in the past year reflects a positive image.
The number of burglaries and thefts shows a significant decrease. Even the number of motor vehicle crashes is down, as is the number of DWI arrests.
There was a 36 percent drop in the number of stealing/larceny/theft cases. In 2017 there were 92 such cases and that number dropped all the way down to 60 in 2018.
There was also a huge drop in the number of burglaries reported in 2018. Only six burglaries are reported on the year-end stat sheet, as compared to 17 burglaries in 2017 and 13 in 2016.
A spike in thefts of motor vehicles is about the only negative statistic in a 2018 crime report from the Platte City Police Department.
Year-end totals show there were 11 reported thefts of vehicles within the city limits of Platte City in 2018, up from only three in 2017.
Officer Jim Tharp with the police department commented that an auto theft ring operating in the Kansas City metro area seems to be the reason for the spike throughout the area. He said representatives from multiple jurisdictions are discussing ways to address the problem.
“That number bounced up from a very good year in 2017 to closer to our normal year. In 2015 and 2016 there were around 10 per year,” said DJ Gehrt, city administrator. There were six aggravated assaults in Platte City in 2018, up from five the year before.
Platte City had zero reported robberies in 2018, 2017 and 2016. There were two in 2015.
No rapes or sexual assaults were reported in Platte City in 2018, matching the zero reported in 2017. The years 2015 and 2016 each saw one sexual assault reported.
There was a 13 percent drop in the number of total motor vehicle crashes in 2018, with 100. That compares to 115 crashes in 2017 and 104 in 2016. Stats show 88 of those crashes in 2018 involved property damage, down from 102 in 2017.
Twenty-eight of the 100 crashes in 2018 occurred on private property. Eight of them were described as hit-and-run. One involved a pedestrian.
Traffic enforcement numbers saw some dramatic changes. There were only 1111 traffic stops made in 2018 compared to 1672 in 2017. There were 1127 traffic citations issued in 2018 compared to 1510 in 2017.
“Reduction in stops was happenstance. City focus is on traffic safety outcome, not traffic revenue or number of stops. We should only be making the number of stops needed to address flagrant moving violations and to maintain overall traffic safety,” DJ Gehrt, city administrator, told The Landmark.
“If traffic accident numbers remain the same or are reduced there is no need to increase traffic enforcement. If we see traffic accidents increase, there should be an increase in enforcement actions,” he said.
“A major practical reason for fewer stops in 2018 is that we had significant gaps in officer staffing for several months last year. We were down two or three officers early in 2018 and when officers are hired they ride with a field training officer for an additional 60-75 days,” Gehrt explained.
“The reason for the variance between stops and citations is that a large number of stops result in multiple citations, such as stopped for speeding and may also receive citation for expired registration, expired license, no proof of insurance, vehicle equipment not operating correctly. The good news for the driver is that except for the moving violation, the driver can have the remainder of those citations dismissed with no fine/fee/court costs or going to court if they fix the problem and bring proof to City Hall at least 15 days prior to their court period. We call this the compliance ticket program,” Gehrt remarked.
“The compliance ticket program has been very popular as most people generally accept that they may have been speeding and they generally appreciate an opportunity to have lesser charges dismissed. Although this reduces our fine/fee revenue it does accomplish our primary objective which is to improve likelihood that safe driving will occur,” he added.
There were 265 warning tickets issued in 2018 compared to 348 warnings in 2017. The number of DWI arrests in Platte City was nine in 2018. That total is down from 12 in 2017, 12 in 2016 and 17 in 2015.