Police: Crime is down amid pandemic

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

Indiana’s graduated reopening might change things but one effect of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a perceptible decrease in crime in Dubois County.

Property crime declined because more people are at home, said Dubois County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Stuart Wilson, who noted occupied dwellings are harder to steal from.

Having fewer people on the road is also having an effect because a lot of offenses the sheriff’s office ends up dealing with start with a traffic stop, Wilson added.

“Traffic enforcement is not a goal of ours right now,” he said.

Huntingburg Police Department Assistant Chief Brad Kramer said his officers’ traffic stops are down and those that do occur find officers making use of gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment.

Suspects who could place people in immediate danger if they were not jailed are still taken to the security center, Kramer said, and Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter is always available to discuss any criteria involved on a case-by-case basis. Wilson said more offenders are being cited straight into court instead of being booked into jail during this time.

Dubois County Prosecutor Anthony D. Quinn said the number of filings by his office have been significantly down but he expects more and more police affidavits to arrive as things open back up. Many hearings have occurred telephonically in recent weeks, he said.

One current focus by law enforcement is security checks at businesses, especially in the overnight hours. Deputies logged more than 100 business checks during one recent 30-day period, Wilson noted.

“Our guys are getting out and they are pulling on doors,” Wilson said. “Maybe some of our property crime is down because our guys are out all the time. There is a certain level of deterrent simply by having a marked police car out and about.”

While crime appears to be down, Quinn does not think it is significantly so. Those with addictions are probably still abusing substances, he said. He also worries that some child abuse and domestic violence is going unreported and undetected.

Toward that end, Quinn reminded the public to summon help if they suspect someone is being abused or neglected by calling local law enforcement or the Indiana child abuse hotline at 800-800-5556.




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