Front page history: Burglaries increased in Danville during the late ‘90s

Published 7:36 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2019

An increase in burglaries, thefts and drug arrests were reported on page A1 on this day, 20 years ago in 1999.

The statistics released were from 1998 and were compiled by the Danville Police Department and given to the Kentucky State Police and the FBI. The statistics helped the department get a perspective on changes that officers may need to make in order to reduce crime, said Danville Police Chief Larry Downs.

Drug arrests jumped steeply from 62 arrests in 1996 and 61 in 1997, to 96 arrests in 1998.

Email newsletter signup

Most of the drug arrests were for possession of marijuana or crack cocaine found during routine traffic stops and long-term investigations.

“The police officers have been doing a good job,” Downs said.

“Danville is still a place where many people do not lock their doors at night,” Downs said about the burglaries that occur most of the time at homes and about one-third of the time at businesses.

Residents could help reduce the number of thefts by not leaving valuables and purses inside of cars where they were easily seen, Downs said.

Burglaries jumped during October, November and December, and were reported all over town.

In 1998, the police department had 27 officers, six dispatchers and two records clerks.

Downs said several of the department’s programs were effective in helping to make the community safer.

In 1997 and 1998, the department received radar traffic trailers that showed red digital readouts of vehicle speeds. “You see people immediately brake,” Downs said. People also returned to where the trailers were set up in order to check their speedometers against the radar.

Traffic checks throughout 1998 also led to more DUI arrests. The program was funded by grants to compensate officers who worked overtime. Traffic checks also gave officers the opportunity to encourage seat belt use.

The Citizens’ Academy, which started in 1997, had about 40 men and women participate during its two sessions. It was part of the Community Oriented Policing (COP) initiative.

“It’s been a very positive experience for us,” Downs said. “We’ve broken a lot of barriers between police and our citizens.”