The total number of arrests by St. Clair police were down last year, as well as drug charges and stealing reports compared to 2018.

Officers arrested 668 individuals in 2019, compared to 746 in 2018, which was a record for the department. Police Chief Bill Hammack said the decrease was because drop in the number of fugitive arrests made.

Hammack said Senate Bill 5 limits jail time for individuals who have warrants for their arrest. He noted that some are released within 24 or 48 hours.

St. Clair officers will frequently run into people who have warrants for their arrest in another jurisdiction. If they are arrested by St. Clair police, Hammack said those agencies will not extradite the wanted individuals only to be held in jail for a limited time.

“Less agencies are extraditing on these misdemeanor warrants because the courts aren’t looking at them seriously,” Hammack said.

The decrease in fugitive arrests also caused to have drug arrests to drop too, Hammack said.

“A lot of people that we arrest on fugitive warrants end of having drugs on them too. Once we get them up to the police station, we find them,” he said.

There were 176 drug charges issued last year, compared to 218 in 2018.

Officers responded to 40 drug overdoses, which is 14 less than in 2018. The overdoses resulted in two fatalities.

“More and more people that know they have a drug user in their house, they’re purchasing Narcan,” Hammack said. “If they use Narcan on someone and they don’t call us, we’re not going to know about it.”

Stealing reports were down with 16 fewer taken in 2019. A total of 275 were taken, according to Hammack. There were slightly fewer stolen vehicle reports, which totaled to 28, compared to 31 in 2018.

The number of burglaries declined for a second year in a row for a total of 27, compared to 30 in 2018. In previous years, the average number was 50.

“The definition of a burglary is an unlawful entry into a structure to commit a crime. If you see an open shed or an open garage and a criminal sees something that’s easy to steal, and walks in and takes it, well that’s a burglary,” Hammack said.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean somebody breaking into a home and stealing all their jewelry,” he said. “A lot of our burglary reports are one or two items that stolen out of a structure, whether it’s a shed, or a home or a business.”

He added that the police department does not receive many business burglary reports.

“Typically, if we do, it’s a business that doesn’t have an alarm system. Criminals will take advantage of businesses that don’t have alarms and don’t have surveillance systems,” Hammack said.

Hammack complimented the work of the St. Clair officers.

“We have a good group of officers that are dedicated to their job,” he said. “I appreciate the work that they do because it’s not an easy job.”

By the Numbers

Listed below is a categorized list of reports taken over the course of 2019 with the totals.

There were 277 motor vehicle accidents, two accidental injury reports, seven accidental property damage reports, six animal bites, one animal abuse, 51 animals at large/transported to the humane society, two armed criminal action;

Two arson reports, 44 citizen assault reports, three assaults on police officers, 31 resist arrest reports, 184 domestic assaults, two stalking reports, 47 times the police department assisted other agencies on investigations, 60 civil complaints;

A total of 19 well being checks, zero child abuse cases, nine endangering the welfare of a child cases, zero child molestation reports, one report of possession of child pornography, 17 court-ordered committal reports, 18 counterfeiting reports;

Ten death investigation reports, 10 disorderly conduct reports, 51 DWI arrests, zero robbery reports, zero methamphetamine labs, zero elderly abuse reports, eight reports of failure to return a borrowed vehicle, three filing a false police reports;

One felonious restraint, 17 forgery reports, 12 found contraband reports, 34 found property reports, 17 reports of fraudulent uses of a credit card device, zero hate crimes, 15 harassment complaints, zero hindering prosecutions;

Four identity thefts, one illegal dumping report, 31 incorrigible child complaints, four indecent exposure reports, 139 information reports, 12 littering reports, zero lost children reports, 12 lost property reports, three ministerial alliance assistance reports;

No homicides, eight runaway juvenile reports, five missing adult reports, 67 peace disturbance complaints, 90 property damage reports, eight protective custody reports, four vehicle pursuits, 12 repossession reports, zero sodomy-forcible reports;

Three rape reports, four sexual assaults, five sexual abuse reports, three sexual misconduct reports, nine reports of received stolen property, two reports of tampering with utilities, zero reports of tampering with a witness;

Seven attempted suicides, 29 suicide threats, zero suicide reports, one report of tampering with evidence, 17 reports of tampering with a motor vehicle, one terrorist threat, 43 threats to a citizen reports, 56 towed abandoned vehicles,

A total of 99 trespassing complaints, 15 violations of a full order of protection, 36 violations of safe school act, 16 unlawful use of a weapon and zero reports of discharging a firearm within city limits.