The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By David Grieder
Staff writer 

Clovis PD statistics: violent crime up

Homicides, sex crimes increased in 2017.


June 10, 2018

CLOVIS — The Clovis Police Department last week released its 2017 annual report, detailing in comparative numbers “a very tough and emotional year for our community.”

Police Chief Doug Ford noted an overall increase of almost 200 percent in “index crimes,” such as homicide and rape or criminal sexual penetration of a minor. The number of homicides tripled from two in 2016 to six in 2017, more than the previous three years combined and the highest such annual figure in 13 years. The sex crimes recorded in Clovis more than doubled in the same period, from 23 to 49.

Responding to a question about the last time Clovis had close to six or more homicides in a year, Ford responded: “In 2004 we had 10 homicides in the city. This year was much higher and we were dealing with illegal narcotic problems and the majority of the homicides from 2004 were due to the nexus associated with the drug related crimes.”

The criminal deaths in Clovis were of a different nature, including two instances of double-homicide. The first was April 20, 2017, when a dispute at an apartment complex ended with two men dead, apparently by each other’s hand, according to the report. The second is well known: The Aug. 28, 2017, library shooting, when city employees Wanda Walters and Krissie Carter were killed and four people were injured. The accused shooter, now 17, is awaiting trial.

“This event, at the Clovis- Carver Public Library, affected everyone in Clovis, but our community showed its resilience and ability to work through this horrible time,” said the 2017 report. “Our department and our town emerged from this ordeal more determined and robust. Together, as a community, we chose to show the world that we would not allow an individual’s vile act to define us.”

The other homicide cases are also pending, according to court records. On Sept. 5, 2017, less than five months after the year’s first double-homicide, police sought a man wanted for another shooting death at the same apartment complex. Darryl Turner, 30, was arrested Feb. 16 in Sacramento for the killing of David McDonald, and is currently in local custody awaiting a trial scheduled for September this year. The next month, 51-year old Lorenzo Martinez faces trial for the Feb. 13, 2017 stabbing death of Mary Neal, which he had confessed to police that night.

Not all Index crimes were on the rise compared to the previous year. From 2016 to 2017, there were drops in recorded instances of robbery (46 to 16), aggravated assault (154 to 102), and motor vehicle theft (169 to 140). Theft and larceny saw the most dramatic decrease from the previous year and the lowest such annual figure since at least 2012, with 813 reports in 2017 compared to 1,695 in 2016.

That is not to say police didn’t stay similarly busy in terms of overall calls, arrests and charges. There was a decrease of only about 4 percent in calls for service and crash reports (down to 39,238 and 1,181, respectively), according to the report. In 2016 there were 2,263 arrests and 799 felony charges, while 2017 saw a total of 2,199 arrests and 822 felony charges.

“The area of theft and larceny was down considerably and we appreciate when we are able to see these changes. I can say, we have been doing our best to keep Officers performing proactive law enforcement activity and I hope this is what has assisted in lowering the numbers in this area,” Ford wrote in an email to The News. “I do not believe we can give any direct cause to the (other) fluctuation(s) … There are years where we will see changes in certain crime areas which are more prominent than others. We had no direct correlation to any issues or trends in these areas which could attribute them to certain events or problems.”

The annual reports for 2016 and 2017 also reflected an increase in gang activity that year, with the number of distinct gangs named in the respective reports increasing almost 50 percent and the number of arrests almost doubling, from 105 to 191.

“We did see an increase in the number of gangs and gang related criminal activity,” Ford wrote. “This is an area we will be watching and working on to see what resources will be needed to assist in dealing with these issues.”

Ford said another challenge CPD faced last year was a struggle for qualified staffing, part of a national trend. Even so, he said CPD had a response time of less than six minutes for all calls for service compared with a national average of 11 to 14 minutes.

“I am extremely proud of how the men and women of the department continue to take care of our community,” he wrote. “We are looking forward to continuing the training of our officers and career development of the personnel in the department. We have some retirements coming during the year, so we will have some career development which will occur.”


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 09/16/2019 08:02