Cold Weather Makes Little Difference On Crime Level

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The frigid temperatures and snowy conditions bring a new focus for law enforcement, in the form of motorist assists and snow emergencies. But the level of crime hasn’t changed significantly, according to local officials.

The Athens Police Department saw a yearly increase in burglaries, with more than 40 since December, but the that trend was more linked to students’ absence from the area than to the cold weather.

“A lot of it pertains to (winter) break,” said Lt. Jeff McCall, who is investigating the burglaries that largely occurred in student housing near Court Street. “With a lot of students gone, that leaves vulnerabilities and it also means the crimes might not get reported for weeks.”

On campus, crimes of all types, including criminal arrests, liquor and drug arrests and even traffic arrests have gone down, according to a 2013 Fall Activity Report.

Only one burglary was reported in December 2013, with only two reported in the same month in 2012. No other offenses were listed on the report for December 2013.

Criminal arrests and citations went down from 48 to 22 in December of the two years, liquor arrests and citations went from 16 to 10 and there were no drug arrests or citations for the month in 2013. The department made eight drug arrests or citations in December 2012.

Even the number of calls for service were down this December, from 310 to 277.

December was also the lowest month for all categories from July to December, which were the months included in the university department’s report.

The Athens County Sheriff’s Office didn’t have official numbers for December, but said they hadn’t seen any surprising numbers or any signs of crime trends for the Winter months.

“When you have cold weather, more people are at home, so you get the minor calls of domestic issues, the power outages, and the welfare checks, mostly,” said Sheriff Patrick Kelly.

People are just looking to stay warm for the most part, Kelly said, and he had been surprised with the lack of incidents he’d seen.

“The residents of Athens County are being very resilient during all this,” Kelly said.