SAPD stats show dip in violent crime

Federal grant to help reduce crime on East side

SAN ANTONIO - Crime statistics recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Justice showed the first increase in violent crimes in 20 years.

Here in the Alamo City, it's a different story: Crime is down across the board, according to numbers released by the San Antonio Police Department.

Chief Bill McManus is pleased with the recent crime statistics that show a drop in crime over the past 36 months, but he's not declaring victory.

"I'm happy with them, but I'm not satisfied with them," McManus said. "The numbers are fragile. We work very, very hard to keep those number where they are."

According to the numbers complied by city's six police substations, city-wide, violent crime is down 5.2 percent from a year ago; property crimes are down by 1.7 percent and narcotics arrests increased by nearly 26 percent.

The chief credits his substation commanders and the officers for the drop.

"We don't go out every day and do the same thing as we did yesterday," McManus said. "Strategies change, tactics change and the officers are very aggressive when they go out there."

After a series of deadly shootings on the city's East side, SAPD increased crime fighting efforts which helped reduce violent crime by nearly 6 percent on the East side.

The numbers showed a slight increase in property crimes which rose by 2 percent and drug arrests were up by 19.6 percent.

On Wednesday, the San Antonio Housing Authority announced it was awarded a $600,000 federal grant from the Department of Justice for safety improvements on the East side.

McManus said crime-fighting partnerships like this grant are more effective than just trying to arrest the problem away.

"There has to be an across the board problem solving approach. Certainly arrests are part of that but we have to go deeper than just arrests," McManus said. "We've got to work with communities and individuals. We need their assistance. We need their help identifying problems, prioritizing those problems and then bringing in all the city departments that can help."

The federal grant money will be used over a three-year period and includes efforts to address street lighting, code enforcement and abandoned structures, as well as the implementation of a crime data-sharing program between SAHA and SAPD.

"We are committed to developing and maintaining safe and vibrant communities," Lourdes Castro Ramirez, SAHA president and CEO, said in a statement. "This grant will serve as a much-needed source of funds to implement a strategic approach to reducing criminal activity in the area, while recapturing a sense of security and ownership for the East side residents."


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