CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The FBI released its annual snapshot of crime across America.
Several police departments in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys sent in crime statistics for 2016 — the year covered in the report. The FBI’s report shows how many violent crimes occur, where thefts and sexual assaults are a problem and how many officers are on duty.
Canfield Assistant Police Chief Scott Weamer said it’s important information. While he knows what’s happening in Canfield, the data gives him a good idea of the problems that other communities are facing.
Taking part in the FBI program is voluntary, but the government has an important incentive to get police departments on board.
“There’s a lot of federal grants that we apply for, and if you don’t participate in submitting that data, you’re either not eligible or very unlikely you’re going to get some of that grant funding,” Weamer said.
Not all of the crime in the area is listed in the report, however.
Some jurisdictions didn’t send in reports, like Girard, Hubbard Township and Boardman.
Boardman had to skip this year due to a changeover in software systems and staffing levels that made compiling the data difficult.
Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols said a new software system coming online will automate future reports through the new dispatch center.
“That will give us a chance then to go back and catch up and file our reports in arrears, but right now, because of the way we are functioning, we are a little behind in record-keeping,” he said.
Boardman uses federal grant money to keep staffing levels up, and Chief Nichols said he wants to make sure that the department stays eligible.
“It allows us to put the officers in schools,” he said. “Statistical information is important to the government, to see where to put resources.”
Other jurisdictions may choose not to participate because of staffing or budgetary issues.
As far as the data contained in the reports, it shows mixed results for the area.
Some cities saw an increase in violent crime, while others saw property crime increase due to drug-related thefts.
Also this year, people can look up how many officers are on the road for their local police departments.
Weamer said the reports show how hard each department works.
“We don’t have low crime rates just because it’s Canfield. It’s still the Canfield that it is because of what we do,” he said.
See 2016’s crime statistics for our area below:
Click here to view the crime statistics, if you are viewing the story on the app.
Compare Ohio’s crime statistics with last year’s here: