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Lebanon crime rate down

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:38 PM

Lebanon police have released its annual report for last year.

According to police Chief Scott Bowen, many crime rates were down and he felt the department had a good year.

“We saw a double-digit decrease in several crime categories including robbery, rape, kidnapping and assaults,” Bowen said.

Other highlights from the report included no employee grievances filed by employees in 2013, an increase in arrests but a decrease in use-of-force incidents and citizens’ surveys returned showed a rating of “excellent” or “good” 99 percent of the time.

“I feel this is something we can be very proud of, and it’s something we work real hard at,” Bowen said. “Obviously some categories and areas we feel we can have an affect on, like burglaries and robberies. 

Though regular aggravated assault numbers were down this year, Bowen said aggravated domestic assault incidents made assault numbers go up.

“Some crime categories are just tougher, like domestic assaults, which are really hard for us to control,” Bowen said. 

Bowen said the more proactive the department is at policing, the better results they get.

“We also continue to expand our community policing efforts with the Citizen’s Police Academy, Youth Police Academy, VOICE Program and our Neighborhood Watch,” Bowen said.

Along with the community’s efforts, Bowen said the department’s partnership with Lebanon Public Housing also “continues to pay dividends.”

“We used to have 40 percent of our homicides and violent crimes occurring in public housing and now we’re just not seeing that like we once did,” Bowen said. “Just the partnership we have even with the citizens over there now, the relationship is a lot better and we have people who will even call us with issues.”

And Bowen said the change doesn’t just affect public housing alone.

“If we have an officer spending a lot of their time in public housing within the zone they patrol, well that’s taking up the majority of their time and taking time away from others,” Bowen said. “Now, they’re spending time there, but a majority of it is taken care of and then that frees officers up for other things.”

In monitoring crime and things that go into the annual report, Bowen said the department is constantly communicating and checking on things.

“We monitor crime stuff daily and we meet everyday and go over happenings from the night before and we especially look at major crimes like robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults,” Bowen said. “We track things heavily and there’s so many different thing we do to then try to prevent crime.”

Those crime prevention techniques, Bowen said, include proactive policing, engaging the community through neighborhood watch and citizen police academies, daily intelligence briefs and social media updates and alerts, among other things

“It’s important to get things into the hands—of officers and citizen—so that everyone knows what’s going on,” Bowen said.

An aspect Bowen said he was really proud of was the random surveying.

“Every month we send 30 random surveys out to people who have filed reports and we ask them to rate things like communication and officers and detectives,” Bowen said. “So in 86 percent of the responses we had a rating of ‘excellent’ and in 13 percent of the responses we had a rating of ‘good,’ which made up 99 percent as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ in all responses we got.

“I think that just speaks to and goes back to the staff of people we have, I’m blessed to have the staff of folks I’ve got,” Bowen said. 

Bowen said the department, besides meeting daily itself, also sends a monthly review to the mayor and city council, as well as the annual report, which is available to anyone.

“We want to be transparent and we want people to know what’s going on and to really buy into our department,” Bowen said. “These are all things we’re really proud of.”

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