SEGUIN — A look at the statistics show Seguin is safer today than it was just a few years ago.

The Seguin Police Department’s annual report to the FBI for 2012 show that the city’s crime rate has gone down.

“We’ve had a 17 percent decrease since 2008,” Police Chief Kevin Kelso said Friday in going over the department’s annual report.

The 17 percent decrease is based on a comparison of the annual rates of what the FBI categorizes as Part 1 crimes — homicide, rape, robbery and other serious offenses.

Seguin’s rate of Part 1 crimes has been calculated at 4873.9 for 2012, a decrease of 6.5 percent from the rate of 5212.9 for 2011 and a decrease of 16.8 percent from the rate of 5856.2 for 2008.

Kelso attributes part of the credit for the decrease to the department’s “partnership with the community.”

“In order for us to be successful, we have to work together,” Kelso said.

The public is encouraged to call the police and report their concerns when something in their neighborhood “doesn’t look right.”

In an effort to strengthen the department’s relationship with the public, two community meetings have been scheduled next month. The first meeting will be held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church Parish Center, 409 Krezdorn, at 6 p.m. Friday, April 12, and the second session is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at Faith Lutheran Church Activity Center, 1326 E. Cedar. Topics will include community safety, criminal investigations, communications and technology and community outreach as well as questions and comments from the public.

“We just want to meet with members of our community to let us know where we stand. We’re always looking to improve,” Kelso said.

Kelso and Captain Maureen Watson said they’re hoping to see improved attendance at this year’s community meetings.

While the overall rate of Part 1 crimes has gone down, there are categories that moved in the other direction.

“Burglaries and thefts are still higher than we would like,” Kelso said, Of particular concern is a 38 percent increase in burglaries of motor vehicles.

Property crimes, especially burglaries of vehicles, are readily preventable, he said.

Preventive measures include making sure the vehicle is locked and no possessions are left lying out in plain sight.

Kelso noted that one lone burglar going into cars can be responsible for a large number of offenses. One local case involved burglaries of some 70 vehicles in only a couple of weeks.

Residential thefts also are readily preventable.

“We often have things left outside, and the next morning they’re gone,” Kelso said, reminding local residents not to leave items out in the yard, on a porch or on a patio.

The annual report appears to show the department’s success in efforts against drug trafficking.

“We have had a 143 percent increase in drug arrests,” Kelso said, noting that drug arrests have gone from 103 in 2008 to 253 for 2012. “Our prosecutors are a real big part of that,” he said.

Seguin’s crime rate of 4873.9 compares favorably with those of other area communities. Although 2012 rates for other cities are not yet available, 2011 rates include 6485 for San Antonio, 7375 for Castle Hills, 5258 for Live Oak and 5021 for Gonzales.

Kelso didn’t provide rates for New Braunfels and San Marcos, saying those cities are very different from Seguin.

Watson commends Kelso, who has served as chief since 2008, for improvements. “A team is only as good as the head coach,” she said. “I don’t think there’s any question that we’re seeing a trend toward a better police department.”

A better department attracts better officers. “People want to come here. They see it as a modern, forward-thinking police department,” Watson said.

The local department has been named a “Recognized Law Enforcement Agency” by the Texas Police Chiefs Association which will formally present the award during its state conference scheduled for March 27 in Austin. Of more than 2,600 police agencies in Texas, less than 80 have received the association’s recognition.

“It was a lot of work on the part of many people,” Kelso said regarding the process of qualifying for the designation.

(7) comments

VoiceofReason

Good story showing positive trends on important statistics in our community.

It would be helpful if the article would have explained what the index of 4873.9 means, because the raw statistic is relatively meaningless for the average reader.

Also, I had to chuckle at the statement that it is relevant to compare us to San Antonio, but that San Marcos and New Braunfels are "very different cities." Hmmm. We're more like San Antonio than NB and SM? A quick web search of various independent crime statistics sites show that NB and SM have crime rates superior to Seguin. If those cities' statistics had been quoted, some of the bloom would have been gone from the story, I suppose. But it appears that we cherry-picked our comparables to achieve a desirable conclusion.

Having said all of that, a feel-good story once in a while is completely appropriate for the local newspaper, so thanks for this one.

PeggyH

Seguin has more crime than some cities and less than others. What interests me is what happens in Seguin. Having lived in Castle Hills during the mid-eighties I know that you didn't dare leave a rake in the yard becuse it would be gone before morning. The news media is flooded with stories about crime. It's refreshing to read a "feel good" story...especially when it's about your city. Citizens must take responsibility for keeping their property safe. Since you can't stop crime the neighbor who sees something out of the ordinary and calls the police is your best protection. Hats off to the law enforcement officers in all departments for trying to clean up our streets. We can be the eyes and ears but it's the ones wearing a badge who enforce the laws. Thank you!

albany4509

Wait a second...>> Kelso didn’t provide rates for New Braunfels and San Marcos, saying those cities are very different from Seguin. <

But he did provide rates for San Antonio, Castle Hills and Live Oak? Like they are more alike to Seguin than New Braunfels or San Marcos? Get real.....

taxwatchdog

How ironic. Crime is down in Seguin. But, criminal activity by government officials who work in Seguin is up. Fortunately for Seguin Police Chief Kevin Kelso, his annual report does not include the crimes of former Guadalupe County Judge Mike Wiggins and former ADA Lew Bechtol.

PeggyH

Criminal arrests become statistical factors in the city and/or county where the offense was committed. Offenses against a government body are handled by the state or federal attorney generals which sustained the loss. Why is it so hard to say "thank you" for the work that has been done?

Don and Rose

I do think we have a great police department and am always glad to read that criminals have been caught...and there have been a lot in the past year.
Observation:
Seguin is compared with New Braunfels and San Marcos when convenient and NOT compared when it isn't. In my opinion one negates the other.

taxwatchdog

Ironic: incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.

Unless PeggyH considers the criminal activity of former Guadalupe County Judge Mike Wiggins, former ADA Lew Bechtol, along with the fraud, waste and abuse of government funds at CCSCT to be "the normal or expected result," I stand by my previous comment. Open your eyes. The real criminals are not on the street. They hide behind the shield of government.

And yes, thank you Chief Kelso, for protecting us from city criminals. Too bad government criminals are outside your jurisdiction.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.