We’re only eleven-twelfths through 2012, but already we’ve seen what seems like a big year in local crime – robberies at Gander Mountain and a local gas station, attempted abduction on TART trail, vandals damaging Oakwood Cemetery…and of course skirmishes and escapades in the wee hours downtown.
But is crime actually on the rise in Traverse City, or are we just hearing more about it? The Ticker inquired. We crunched numbers obtained from the TCPD for the first quarter (Jan-Sept) and compared them to the same periods dating back to 2008.
And the verdict is…yes, crime’s up.
There were 3,640 calls to police regarding criminal behavior in TC between January and September 2012, up 15 percent over the same period last year, and up 23 percent from the first nine months of 2008 There’s a slow yet steady rise from the beginning of each year (8 percent of the total annual calls) to July, with nearly 18 percent of 2012’s police calls.
Meanwhile, annual statewide crime appears to be on the decline. Overall criminal incidents declined 22 percent between 2008 and 2011.
Nick McAllister, owner of House of Doggs, located across Union Street from a few of Traverse City’s bars, isn’t surprised to hear about the increase, but isn’t terribly concerned.
He says while the warm summer weather brings in rowdier crowds and people tend to stay out later, “people are just out relaxing and having a good time.” He adds that his eatery has not seen an increase in criminal behavior since its 2006 opening.
Where are the calls coming from? TC Police divide the city into five geographic patrol sectors. Downtown (which of course includes the Union Street area) had 29 percent of the criminal calls so far this year, followed closely by the southeast region (east of Boardman Lake, south of Eighth) at 21 percent. The safest region is the west (west of Division).
Despite the increase in local crime, Traverse City is still a relatively safe place to live. According to neighborhoodscout.com, we saw 2.73 violent crimes per 1,000 people last year, much lower than the statewide average of 4.90 per 1,000 people. The site says the safest neighborhoods in Grand Traverse County are Greilickville and Old Mission.