Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 12, 2013

Ashland Police Department releases revamped annual report

Carrie Stambaugh
CNHI News Service

ASHLAND — The Ashland Police Department released its 2012 annual report last week, which notes a decrease in violent crime and traffic offenses.

The report has been revamped from recent years to include more than just a statistics sheet, officials said. The new format is a 37-page glossy, magazine-type publication the department hopes will raise public awareness about the agency.

“We do a lot more than what people think we do, and I just think it is a way to get information out that we do a whole lot more than just respond to calls and write tickets. We have a lot of things to brag about, and that is our chance to do it,” Chief Rob Ratliff said.

The report is just one of the ways the APD is reaching out to the community, he said. “We’re doing a whole lot more to be interactive with the community.”

In 2012, the agency launched a new iPhone app. It has also revamped its website in recent years and has maintained a strong presence on Facebook.

The report includes crime and traffic statistics as well as articles on various programs written by police officers. Topics include field operations, the criminal process, fallen officers, media coverage, social media, the Citizens Academy, school resource officers, commendations and awards, cyber crimes, criminal investigations sections and special response teams.

“We got a lot of people involved in writing these articles and getting a chance to put their touch on it — getting the word out about what they are doing,” Ratliff said. “Some of it is just informative — what you need to know to get a police report,” for example.

The report is available in hard-copy form as well as electronically at AshlandKyPD.com.

For Ratliff, the reduction in violent crimes jumps out at him from the report.

“Those numbers are down here,” he said. “From living in the area, you hear the things that are going on in neighboring communities, and people don’t realize it is not going on here. We do everything we can to keep it from happening here.”

Crime statistics

The APD responded to 27,045 calls during 2012, fielding almost half of the 911 calls made in Boyd County to the Regional Public Safety Communication Center. The Ashland Fire Department was the next closest with 23 percent of the total call volume.  

The busiest day of the week for the police department is Friday. During the year it answered 4,314 calls on Friday, compared to Sunday, the slowest day for calls, with 3,326 recorded.  

Violent crimes were down noticeably from the prior year. Police attribute this to an emphasis on prevention in these areas. There were no murders in 2012, 2011 or 2010. Attempted murders also dropped from five in 2011 to none in 2012.

Rapes were down from nine in 2011 and eight in 2010 to four in 2012. Robberies also decreased from 38 in 2011 and 48 in 2010 to 32 in 2012. Aggravated assaults dropped from 32 to 24 during the year; burglaries also declined significantly. There were 284 burglaries in 2012, compared to 355 in 2011.  

Stolen-property cases also declined dramatically, down from 144 in 2011 to 82 in 2012.

Larceny charges were by far the most frequently reported to the APD, with more than a 1,000 each year for the last three years. The rate dipped slightly from 2011 to 2012, falling from 1,075 to 1,007.

Arson, fraud and prostitution offenses were up. Arson cases rose to five from four, while there were 256 fraud cases in 2012, compared to 208 in 2011.  

Another bright spot in the statistical report was the number of vehicle collisions in 2012. There were 125 fewer incidents, dropping from 1,045 to 920 in a year. And there were fewer injury crashes — 146 compared to 167. However, there was a large jump in those injured, from 255 in 2011 to 389 in 2012.  

Traffic citations fell from 4,000 citations and 6,412 counts in 2011 to 3,601 citations and 5,550 counts in 2012. There were also notable drops in narcotics violations, impaired driving and no-insurance charges.

However, intoxication charges more than doubled from 114 in 2011 to 303 in 2012. Seat belt violations rose from 1,594 in 2011 to 1,651 in 2012.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.