St. Joseph Police report decrease in violent crime in 2023

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St. Joseph Police Chief Paul Luster reports on the 2023 Crime Statistics at the Law Enforcement Center downtown/ Photo by Matt Pike

By MATT PIKE

St. Joseph Post

The St. Joseph Police department saw a significant decrease overall in the number of crimes through 2023.

Police Chief Paul Luster reported on the crime stats during a news conference at the Law Enforcement Center downtown. Luster says overall there was a decrease in St. Joseph between 2022 and 2023.

“In 2022, there were 3,365 part one crimes reported, compared to 2,879 reported in 2023, that represents a 14% decrease,” Luster tells reporters and fellow officers during the news conference.

Part one crimes are classified in the two categories of violent crimes, such as rape and murder, and property crimes like arson and burglary.

Luster credits the drop to a focus on what he calls precision policing, focusing on offenders and building relationships with partner agencies and the community.

Luster says the analogy he uses to describe what he means by precision policing, is fishing with a spear, instead of a net.

“So, we’re focusing our resources, it’s always our hope that we’ll continue to see decreases, there’s obviously some the police department has to do with that but there’s other things outside of our control,” Luster explains. “We need the community partnerships, we need to community to step up at all times, we need the crime reported so we can address it.”

“So. there’s just lots of factors beyond the police departments control that factor into the crime statistics.”

Luster says as they work through 2024 now, his department wants to keep a concerted focus on violent crime.

“That’s going to be our primary focus, on the violent offenders in our community that are putting this community at risk, and that’s where we’re going to put the resources to,” Luster says. “And that’s not to say we’re not going to address other things, we focus on pattern crimes as well, if we see burglary or theft patterns we focus on that as well.

“But there’s always going to be an emphasis on violent offenders in our community, because that’s what creates a danger to our community.”

Luster also says since July of 2023 they’ve seen lover overall crime numbers than the past two years.