SEE ALSO: Click here for violent crime data from Pennsylvania for 2011. Scroll to the bottom of the linked document for York County data.
PROPERTY CRIME: Reports: York County property crimes dropped in 2011
The number of violent crimes reported in York County climbed by nearly 46 percent last year, with the number of the most serious offenses growing from 909 in 2010 to 1,325 in 2011, according to state data released Tuesday.
Violent crimes reported in the Uniform Crime Reporting System issued by Pennsylvania State Police include offenses such as murder, rape and robbery, all categories in which York reported more incidents last year than it did in 2010, according to the data.
The number of murders increased from 11 to 20, according to the data, which is collected from police departments across the county. There were more rapes, with 100 reported in 2010 and 139 reported last year, according to the statistics. Robbery grew nearly 20 percent, from 388 reported offenses in 2010 to 465 last year.
Aggravated assault saw one of the largest jumps, increasing by nearly 71 percent, from 410 reported offenses in 2010 to 701 last year.
The annual report is based on crime statistics submitted to state police by law enforcement agencies throughout Pennsylvania for the year 2011, state police said in the data release.
Snapshot: Violent crimes in York City jumped 71 percent from 421 in 2010 to 721 in 2011.
The largest increase was in assaults. A total of 131 were reported in the city in 2010 while 312 were reported in 2011, according to the data.
Murders in the city also increased from five in 2010 to 16 in 2011.
While the statistics provide a snapshot of crime, West York Police Chief Justin Seibel said, the numbers don't represent the overall safety in the borough.
"Any attempt to sort out the combined and complex relations between crime and the economy, the age of the population, population density, incarceration rates, neighborhood demographics, police work, etceteras, and how these factors influence local crime rates, may be best reserved for a group of scholars," he said. "Perhaps YorkCounts could pursue commissioning another study to answer this question?"
According to the report, there was one more violent crime in West York in 2011 when there were 14 - three rapes, two robberies and nine assaults - compared to 2010 when there nine robberies and four assaults.
Disparity: York Area Regional Police Department, which provides service to York and Windsor townships and Dallastown, Windsor, Jacobus, Yoe, Felton and Red Lion, saw a 19 percent increase in violent crimes, according to the report.
However, Chief Tom Gross said the numbers appear to be slightly inaccurate.
The state police report states there were 40 assaults and 13 rapes in 2010, compared to 63 assaults and five rapes in 2011.
The department's 2011 annual reports says there were 36 assaults, 14 rapes and 14 robberies in 2010 while there were 44 assaults, 14 robberies and five rapes in 2011.
Gross said it's not clear what caused the disparity between the two reports.
While assaults have increased, according to both reports, Gross pointed out that, overall, violent crimes have decreased since 2007.
"With the exception of assaults, violent crimes in our jurisdiction are down," he said.
Throughout the county, there were decreases in some categories, including property crimes, which include burglary, larceny theft and vehicle theft, according to the report.
Increases: Of late, Gross said there's been an increase in reported sex offenses, which he said is the result of the Jerry Sandusky trial bringing the offenses more into the public eye.
While an increase in crime can be seen as a negative, Gregory Bean, chief of Southwestern Regional Police, said it could be a result of more crimes actually being reported to authorities.
"Every police chief I know is trying to uncover more crime," he said.
Southwestern, which covers Heidelberg, Manheim and North Codorus townships and Spring Grove, recently unveiled its improved website, which gives residents a greater opportunity to reach out to police. An increased access to police officers, Bean said, is exactly what he wants to see.
Southwestern saw an overall decrease in violent crimes in 2011 compared to 2010.
In 2011, there were 12 violent crimes - two murders, three rapes and seven assaults. That's a 29 percent decrease from 2010 when there were 10 assaults, six rapes and one murder, according to state police data.
Statewide: The overall number of crimes reported to state police across the state dropped by 0.7 percent in 2011. Violent crimes declined 0.9 percent during 2011, the lowest total since 2003, according to the release.
The total number of crimes reported to state police in 2011 was 927,271, compared to the 934,248 crimes reported in 2010, according to the release.
Violent crimes statewide dropped from 46,363 in 2010 to 45,967 last year. Between 2007 and 2011, violent crimes dropped 10 percent from 51,059 to 45,967.
Property crimes, which are burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft and arson, increased 2.6 percent from 276,564 in 2010 to 283,660 in 2011.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org. - Reach Christina Kauffman at email@example.com.