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Published: Monday, 8/19/2002

Jerusalem, Springfield buck crime-drop trend

BY JASON WILLIAMS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Crime in Toledo's suburbs decreased 4.5 percent last year despite significant increases in thefts in Jerusalem and Springfield townships.

The two townships posted the biggest gains - 135 percent and 89 percent, respectively - in 2001 in robberies, thefts, larcenies, and some assaults, figures supplied by the Lucas County Sheriff's Office show.

But officials characterized them as a statistical blip.

“I would not view those stats as a trend unless they continue to rise for a number of years,” sheriff's Lt. Don Atkinson said. “A small number of people can account for a prolific amount of crimes. We had four or five [people] who accounted for 50 or 60 crimes.”

The suburban crime statistics are not related to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program numbers, which include murders, rapes, assaults, burglaries, arsons, and auto thefts. The suburban crime numbers were provided by local law enforcement departments.

Twenty-seven suburbs around Toledo reported 8,870 of those crimes in 2001. That compares with 9,285 crimes in 2000 in the same categories.

There were no murders in those 27 suburbs in 2001 and there were 45 reported rapes. Springfield Township had the highest number of reported rapes with 11.

That was followed by Maumee and Oregon with five reported rapes each. Many of the suburbs did not report any rapes.

In Springfield Township, the 89 percent jump in crime was mostly related to a spike in theft reports.

Springfield Township “is our largest population, and the [one with the] most commercial development,” Lieutenant Atkinson said. “It comes from misdemeanor thefts like stereos and CDs.”

Rossford also experienced a jump in crime - nearly 65 percent.

“Our rates run in cycles and our arrests were up last year,” Sgt. Brian Cranny said. “We have expanded; Crossroads Shopping Center opened and we have a bigger chunk of I-75. It goes up and down.”

Crime in Sylvania Township dropped nearly 11 percent, and police Chief Gary Copeland attributed the good news to extra officers paid for with grants. “That increases our visibility and deters some of the [criminal] element out there,” the chief said.

“We have been putting bikes on the trails through the neighborhoods,” he said. The department recently added two officers for motorcycle patrol.

Crime also dropped in Richfield, Lake, and Holland townships, and Sylvania and Waterville, according to Lucas County sheriff's officials.

Despite the nonviolent nature of most of the offenses, the crimes still cause their share of headaches and grief.

Bruce Bales, 41, who started the Friendly Software firm and has designed computer golf games for Greg Norman and Microsoft, had his wallet swiped from a Henthorne Avenue office last December. He was one of about 886 larceny victims in the area last year.

He paid for the loss quickly - $400 in cash was taken, and someone used his credit cards to purchase a diamond necklace for about $573 from Dillard's and nearly $612 in items from Toys R Us on Reynolds Road.

He also lost something more valuable than money.

In 1976 he began writing sports computing programs for games. His wallet included a piece of paper with a computer code that determined how far a golf ball moves in a computer game.

“I did not have that particular formula somewhere else,” Mr. Bales said. “I had it in my wallet for 20 years and I didn't' think it would be a problem.”

A February, 2001, traffic accident has affected his memory and now he can't remember all of the original code.

“It's pretty much a priceless loss for me,” Mr. Bales said.



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