- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—COLUMBUS — Columbus Police officers have been showing up at the scenes of theft and criminal mischief reports less frequently at the midway point of 2015, but they have answered calls to a few more assaults through the first six months of the year.

Officers have answered 76 theft reports through June, a sharp downturn from the 114 reports filed during the first six months of 2014, according to the Columbus Police Department’s monthly activity log.

Police responded to 13 theft reports in June.

Criminal mischief complaints have also been on the wane through the first six months of 2015. Police officers have been summoned to 66 criminal mischief incidents through June, a dive from 95 incidents during the first half of last year.

There were 152 mischief complaints registered during the first six months of 2013. Officers investigated 11 criminal mischief incidents in June, a fall of three from the 14 committed during the same month a year ago.

June is the latest month for which figures are available.

Meanwhile, assaults have erupted a bit more frequently in 2015.

Police have investigated 26 assaults during the first six months of this year, up from 23 reported at the midpoint of 2014. Officers were called to 44 dispute scenes during the first six months of 2013.

Officers probed four assaults in June.

The city’s burglary figures have been steady at the halfway point this year. Police investigated 26 break-ins during the first six months of 2014 and 2015. There were four burglary complaints in June of this year.

During June, police took the spotlight off speeders who push the needle on city streets. Officers put the brakes on 40 speeders during the month, nearly 70 percent fewer than the 130 tickets written in June 2014.

During the first six months of 2015, officers have stopped 692 speeders, a 2.1 percent decline from the 707 issued tickets in the first half of last year. Police ticketed 347 drivers for speeding through June two years ago.

The department’s citation figures include tickets that carry a fine and those that warn drivers to slow down.

City drivers also got a little less attention from officers on the lookout for people rushing through stoplights at busy intersections.

Police cited 23 drivers in June for being careless while racing through traffic lights, a 43.9 percent tumble from the 41 who were cited for the offense during the same month a year ago.

For the first six months of 2015, police have written up 239 drivers trying to beat the lights, a 21.3 percent jump from the 197 cited through June a year ago.

For the first half of 2015, police issued 3,706 citations for all offenses, inching up slightly from the 3,680 tickets written in the first half of last year.

Driving under the influence arrests through June are bucking a city trend for DUI offenses that has been underway for several years.

Officers have given 52 drunken drivers a ride to the county jail through the first six months of 2015. That’s a 48.6 percent spike from the 35 drivers jailed during the first six months of 2014.

Police arrested five drivers for DUI in June, one fewer than the six who were cited in the same month a year ago.

At the six-month point in 2013, police had arrested 67 offenders for DUI. There were 63 DUI offenses in the first six months of 2012.

For all of 2013, police arrested 126 drunken drivers, just two fewer than the 128 nabbed during all of 2012. Officers pulled in 138 throughout 2011 and 162 for all of 2010.

Minor in possession of alcohol offenses edged higher in June, but have been sinking lower all year.

Police cited five minors for MIP in June, a 25 percent bump from the four cited for the offense during the same month of 2014.

For the year overall, officers have cited 27 minors, a 35.7 percent plunge from the 42 given citations during the first six months of last year.

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(c)2015 the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.)

Visit the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.) at www.columbustelegram.com

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