CHEYENNE,Wyo.— The Cheyenne Police Department has released its annual report this week that contains an analysis of crime data from the city in 2015.
The report provides community members a great opportunity to get a snapshot of the community from last year and see the results of the hard work that is being put forth by the department.
Although crime has been falling over the past several years, declining police resources have had an impact on police service in 2015 resulting in an increase in crime. Police staffing has not increased proportionally with the city and the department currently has an authorized staffing of 1.63 officers per 1,000 residents.
The department would require 11 more positions to reach the 1.83 level we had in 2010 and would require 42 more positions to reach the US average of 2.3 per 1,000. The Cheyenne Police Department is at the lowest staffing it has had in recent history.
Officers are responding to more calls for service and have less proactive policing time for community policing and traffic enforcement. Day shift officers have only 10% proactive policing time where the national best practices recommend officers have 40% proactive policing time. The department saw a 12 percent increase in calls for service from 2014 to 2015 and patrol officers handle 33% more calls than officers in other communities.
The response time average for a call that is not in progress is 40 minutes due to a lack of available resources. The department asks the public to be patient with the delayed response times and the inability to investigate all crimes, as crimes are now investigated based on a prioritization schedule.
With a decrease in the number of officers available to respond to calls, officers have found themselves responding to calls without a backup officer. Last year brought an increase in assaults on officers with 169 incidents that involved the suspect being actively aggressive toward the police.
Cheyenne traditionally has a crime rate that is above the US average. This is due to several factors that other communities may not have. With Cheyenne Frontier Days the city sees an influx of people and with it an influx of crime.
Cheyenne also attracts people to the area year-round for the region’s retail shopping, which also leads to an increase in theft. Additionally, some residents have a perception that crime is low, and as result, fail to secure their valuables.
Even with declining resources, CPD has been able to lower the crime rate almost 40% during the last six years to a point where it was equal to US average in 2014. This was done by becoming more efficient in the way the department communicates with the public, responds to false alarms, and manages civil calls and private property crashes.
The city saw a 16% increase in Part 1 crimes in 2015 and an 81% increase in violent crime, which is still 46% below the US average. The good news is that the department continues to see a decline in crashes, with a 50% reduction in DUI caused crashes.
However, the increased demand for service will begin to have a negative impact as the department is becoming reactive, instead of proactive. "I am very proud of the committed service our employees are providing our citizens, despite declining resources,” said Chief of Police Brian Kozak.