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Violent Crimes Up Across the City of Odessa

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The numbers are in. Some are good and some could be better. Violent crimes across Odessa are up. The biggest problem? Robberies. On Thursday, the Odessa Police Department released statistics from 2009. 

According to the crime statistics:

Violent Crimes

2008

2009

% CHANGE

 

Property Crimes

2008

2009

% CHANGE

Murder

7

5

-28.57%

 

Burglary

893

1084

21.39%

Rape

36

36

0.00%

 

Larceny

2809

2834

0.89%

Agg Aslt

517

540

4.45%

 

Auto Theft

268

191

-28.73%

Robbery

73

189

158.90%

 

Arson

32

30

-6.25%

TOTAL

633

770

21.64%

 

TOTAL

4002

4139

3.42%

What caught our attention was violent crimes. Robberies robberies were way up, 158 percent.

"When when you look at the number, you're thinking oh my gosh 158, that's a high percentage for robberies," Corporal Sherrie Carruth, with the Odessa Police Department said. "But what we want people to understand is a lot of that has to do with the classification. Because in most cases someone thinks of a robbery as someone used a gun or some type of weapon and took their property. Under the classification if you were to walk into a store and it starts out as a theft, maybe shoplifting or beer run, and they push the clerk or hit the clerk or something that caused the clerk to get injured then it changes it from a theft to a robbery."

Corporal Sherrie Carruth said that classification can make the numbers look higher. The robberies themselves range, some in parking lots or closer to homes and businesses.

"Robbers are trying to get in and get out," Cpl. Carruth explained. "They want quick cash, convenient stores no matter where they are, and a lot of times it's a crime of opportunity. They see someone out in the parking lot by themselves they're thinking 'okay here's my chance' and they take that opportunity. So, you find it sporadically and throughout the city."

When it comes to crime, some Odessa business owners just aren't taking any chances.

"I've installed wireless silent alarms," Vance Camper, the owner of the Red Barn liquor store in Odessa, said. "I've installed cameras all through the building. On the drive-through, I've got the censors that turn on, so if anything gets touched somebody's going to know about it."

Camper has been the owner of the facility for about three weeks, and since he took over the building, he's making sure he's prepared, especially with customers coming and going all the time.

"Being a cash business robbery is a concern to me," Camper added. "The only thing is if somebody robs me, I'm going to have a picture of them. There's just no getting around it. More often then not they'll have a record and the police will be able to identify them and track them down."

If a crime ever does happen in town, Odessa police said it's thanks to you the viewer often times who can help to figure out who they are. They said catching crimes on tape and public participation will help in reducing the number of robberies.

Odessa Police said so far, 2010 looks better than this time last year in terms of robberies. If you ever have information on crimes you see on NewsWest 9, contact Odessa Police or Odessa Crimestoppers. You will remain anonymous.

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