Day by day, Fort Wayne continues to become one of the safest cities of its size in the country. I am happy to report that crimes in Fort Wayne were down 8.54% from 2001 to 2002. Official uniform crime statistics complied by the Fort Wayne Police Department show there were 12,257 crimes in the City last year, compared with 13,402 crimes in 2001. Citywide, incidents of robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and vehicle theft were down in 2002. The police department reported on additional homicide case last year, 21 additional rapes and six additional arsons.
While any drop in crime is significant, what is even more impressive is the historical analysis of crime in Fort Wayne. In the last 20 years the City's population has increased more than 25% while the crime rate has dropped more than 9%.
This is great news for our City. Crime numbers are down because of the great work of our police department and because officers are forming partnerships with residents. Neighborhood leaders are continuing to be vigilant in reporting suspicious activity and keeping their neighborhoods safe.
In the southwest quadrant of Fort Wayne, crimes rose slightly in 2002, by less than half a percent. Much of the .46% rise is attributed to the opening of Jefferson Pointe, which has resulted in an increase in the number of shoplifting and theft from vehicle cases, and the opening of a gas station at the intersection of Ardmore and Engle. That gas station reported 210 drive-offs in 2002, where previously there were none. Factor out those crimes and the southwest quadrant realized a 10% decrease in criminal activity.
One way the Fort Wayne Police Department will continue to work to reduce crime in the southwest quadrant is by establishing an outpost at Jefferson Pointe. The outpost will allow officers to start and end their shifts within the quadrant. Reporting directly into the quadrant, instead of at police headquarters, means officers will increase their presence in the southwest by at least 26 hours each day. That's the equivalent of hiring three additional officers.
Thanks to the hard work of the Fort Wayne Police Department and the support from City residents, neighborhood leaders and others, our City is well on its way to becoming the safest city of its size in the country.