Police chief: Crime rates in Janesville at 20-year low

Police chief: Crime rates in Janesville at 20-year low

Janesville’s police chief had good news for the city Wednesday. He said crime rates have been cut in half since 1995.

“Well, we are very fortunate,” Chief David Moore said. “In 2015, we experienced a 20-year low in our crime rate. It has ebbed and flowed some, but it has continuously gone down since 1995.”

More recent data shows most crime in the city has gone down since 2014:

Criminal homicides went from 1 in 2014 to 0 in 2015
Forcible rape was down from 23 in 2014 to 14 in 2015 Burglaries went from 303 in 2014 to 279 in 2015 Arson was down from 12 in 2014 to 5 in 2015

Moore said the police can’t take all the credit for the decrease in crime.

“It is not just the police department. It’s the entire community,” he said. “And we look upon ourselves as being just one of the partners in the community to drive down that crime rate.”

Moore also credits schools, families and churches will the lower crime rate.

“We work closely with our neighborhoods, and we’re always trying to build trust,” he said.

Marla Verdone grew up in Janesville and decided to come back after going away for college to raise her family in the area. She said she sees the police as being part of the community.

“I have been here the last 20 years, and I see a lot of community involvement going on,” she said. “It makes me feel pretty safe.”

But some other residents don’t agree that crime in Janesville has gone down.

Dave Tomten said he has lived in Janesville his whole life.

“There’s areas of town now that were good neighborhoods that aren’t good neighborhoods any more,” he said.

Verdone said you can’t expect to have an area be crime-free.

“We’re a city,” she said. “We’re going to have some.”

State and national crime rates have been going down as well. But Moore said the rate in Janesville has been going down faster.

However, cities in Wisconsin similar in size to Janesville are reporting lower crime rates.

“We’re slightly above our peer city average in terms of the crime rate,” Moore said.

He contributed this to the fact that people in Janesville will call in crime people in other areas might not report.

“For example, if someone has a six-pack of soda stolen from a refrigerator in a garage, people will call us on it, and that’s a burglary,” Moore said. “Whereas, if you’re living in a very large urban area, you’re probably not going to bother your local police department with that.”

But Moore said he likes that people call in with anything they feel is a crime because it shows they trust the police department.

“If you have a trusted police department, and you have a connected police department to your community, they’re going to feel more comfortable reporting those crimes,” he said. “Which is good, but it’s going to push up your crime rate.”

Moore said he wants people to stay connected to the police department. If anyone has a concern or suspects anything, they can call Crime Stoppers at 756-3636.

“Give us a call. Let us vet it out, and we can determine if there’s an appropriate action to be taken,” he said.