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Police: Crime up 27 percent with one burglar to blame

Published: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

RIVERSIDE – The Riverside Police Department recently released crime statistics for the third quarter of the year, and crime is up – 27.5 percent, to be exact.

According to Chief of Police Tom Weitzel, a single burglar is to blame for the spike.

According to Weitzel, the stats are up due to a rash of car burglaries and thefts reported to police this year. Weitzel said 40 of those burglaries were solved when officers arrested Earl Toomer, 19, of Riverside in July. Police charged Toomer with six counts of felony residential burglary, battery to a police officer and resisting arrest. He recently pleaded guilty and received time served, Weitzel said.

According to Weitzel, the crime rate would be down 5.8 percent in Riverside if crimes cleared by Toomer’s arrest were removed.

As of Oct. 31, Riverside had 153 reportable crimes compared to 120 by the same date in 2012.

“We’re very low on violent crime,” Weitzel said. “In fact, 153 [reported crimes] is low for a community.”

Weitzel said burglary and thefts were the biggest police issue the department faced this year. The majority of those were cars broken into after doors had been left unlocked.

“We try to encourage our residents to make sure doors are locked,” Weitzel said. “Sometimes all it takes [to prevent a crime] is to lock your doors and leave on outside lights.”

Weitzel said he was particularly pleased by a nearly 10 percent increase in DUI arrests compared to third quarter DUI arrests in 2012.

“Those [DUI] stops save lives,” Weitzel said. “And our officers have a nearly 90 percent conviction rate.”

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