Property crimes, including burglaries and larceny thefts, dropped nearly 5 percent across York County between 2010 and 2011.
All told, 8,745 Part 1 property crimes were reported in York County in 2011, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting System issued by Pennsylvania State Police. Part 1 crimes are considered the more serious and are reported to police more frequently.
That compares to 9,164 Part I property crimes in 2010 and 8,972 such crimes in 2009.
The numbers were driven down partly because 341 fewer larceny thefts -- when someone steals something without the use of force -- were reported to police departments across the county in 2011 compared to 2010.
Burglaries also dropped, albeit by a slim margin of 40 fewer such crimes, according to the data.
The annual report is based on crime statistics submitted to state police by law enforcement agencies.
While the number of reported Part 1 property crimes decreased, there was an increase in violent crimes. The number of violent crimes reported climbed by nearly 46 percent last year, jumping from 909 in 2010 to 1,325 in 2011.
Rise and fall: Law enforcement officials said what causes all crime to increase and decrease from year to year depends on a number of factors.
Some said the economy, demographics and population density play into the reasons. But one thing all agreed on is that drug addiction is the root of nearly all crimes.
A number of thefts can be attributed to substance abuse, said Chief Mark Bentzel of Northern York County Regional Police.
Northern York County Regional Police saw burglaries
increase from 92 in 2010 to 145 in 2011. Larceny thefts rose from 888 to 928 over the same time period, according to the report.
Chief James Boddington of Southern Regional Police said one recent theft case solved by his department involved a group "professional druggies" from Maryland who drove around looking for items to steal to buy their next high.
Suburban: While drugs play a factor in crime rates, where residents live also comes into play.
Lt. Todd King of the Springettsbury Township Police Department said it's not uncommon for urban and suburban areas to see more burglaries than rural areas.
Springettsbury Township, more suburban than rural, saw burglaries drop from 64 in 2010 to 49 in 2011, but larceny thefts increased from 832 to 881 over the same time period.
At the same time, the more rural jurisdiction of Southern Regional Police had 25 burglaries and 141 larceny thefts in 2010 and 24 burglaries and 163 larceny thefts in 2011, according to the data.
Urban York City saw 429 burglaries and 1,147 larceny thefts reported in 2011, down from 555 burglaries and 1,330 larceny thefts reported in 2010.
King said burglaries are more likely to happen in suburban areas purely because there are more houses around, giving criminals more options.
"There's more targets in that (suburban) setting than there are in a rural area," he said.
One thing Chief Gregory Bean of Southwestern Regional Police said he's noticed is that a lot of people who live in rural settings don't lock their car doors, making it easier for criminals to get in and take what they want, while residents in suburban and urban areas are more mindful and remember to lock their doors.
Spread out: When a crime happens in one jurisdiction, a similar crime, sometimes committed by the same person or group of people, is often committed in neighboring jurisdictions.
King said it's not uncommon for the same burglars to be active in Springettsbury Township and nearby Spring Garden Township and municipalities serviced by York Area Regional Police.
With a network of highways and roads crisscrossing the county and beyond, criminals have what is essentially an all-access pass in and out of York County.
Citing a Berks County burglary ring that is accused of committing 16 burglaries in Northern York County Regional's jurisdiction last year, Bentzel said some criminals travel great lengths to commit crimes.
Boddington said a number of crimes, including burglaries, that occur in Southern Regional's jurisdiction are committed by out-of-state criminals.
Small towns patrolled by Southern Regional Police are near Interstate 83, making it easy for criminals to get off the highway, commit a crime and drive off, potentially into another state, in a short period of time, Boddington said.
"When you have a corridor like that, they're (criminals) going to stop for a Big Mac and burglary," he said.
-- Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.