The total number of reports filed by Union police officers was up slightly in 2017 compared to the past several years.

Union Police Chief Norman Brune this week presented the annual crime statistics to the board of aldermen.

In 2017, there were 3,268 reports filed, compared to 3,112 in 2016; 2,989 in 2015; and 3,029 in 2014. The 2012 and 2013 numbers were higher, with 3,453 and 3,456, respectively.

New Software

The chief noted that some of the ups and downs are not due to fewer reports or responses, but due to the reporting system and streamlining processes.

In 2017, the police department changed software for its reporting system. The department switched from Uniformed Crime Report (UCR) to the Missouri Incident Based Reporting System (MIBRS).

“MIBRS is a more detailed reporting system, which gives us a lot more information out of our software than what the Unified Crime Report does,” he said. MIBRS will be used in conjunction with the National Incident Based Reporting System and the department will move away from the UCR.

The department still is working out some of the issues with the software, which means the 2018 numbers also will be impacted, but less than in 2017.

Major Categories

Overall, Brune said there weren’t many changes in major categories in 2017 compared to previous years.

The number of traffic tickets decreased, from 1,818 in 2016 to 1,644 in 2017.

Arrests were up from 834 in 2017 to 946 in 2017.

Drug overdose and overdose numbers, despite going down slightly, still show “that we still do have a heroin problem, which is throughout Franklin County and the whole St. Louis metropolitan area,” Brune said. “It’s spread throughout the entire state of Missouri, and the country for that matter,” he added.

The number of drug overdoses was 17, down from 36 in 2016. Heroin overdoses were down one, from 29 in 2016 to 28 last year.

Drug overdose deaths decreased by half, from six in 2016 to three last year.

“The reason for that is — we’ve had quite a few overdoses, but we’ve been successful in the use of Narcan (an opioid overdose reversal drug), and being able to administer it ourself prior to the EMTs arriving on the scene and it’s had a very good impact,” Brune said. “We’ve been able to save some lives with that.”

The police department received its first and second supplies of Narcan through a grant and a donation from the prosecuting attorney’s office.

“We will continue to try to get it through grants. There has been no cost to the city of Union at this point,” he noted.

Other Major Categories

Assault reports decreased from 152 in 2016 to 132 in 2017.

The number of attempted suicides reported was down to four in 2017, from 10 in 2016.

Crash reports were down 12 percent, from 510 in 2016 to 444 in 2017.

The number of burglaries increased slightly, from 47 reports in 2016 to 52 in 2017.

Destruction of city property was up from seven reports in 2016 to nine in 2017 while destruction of private property was down from 172 in 2016 to 139 in 2017.

The number of driving while intoxicated reports were up significantly for both the city and state reports. City reports went from 22 in 2016 to 37 in 2017 and state reports went from 62 in 2016 to 86 in 2017.

Motor vehicle thefts were down to 31 in 2017 from 37 the previous year.

Drug cases overall increased from 298 in 2016 to 349 in 2017, a 17 percent increase.

The number of peace disturbance reports was cut in half in 2017 over 2016, from 32 to 16.

Rape cases increased from one in 2016 to four in 2017 and sexual offenses reported increased dramatically from 8 in 2016 to 22 in 2017.

Brune said the number of sexual offenses’ considerable increase was surprising to him.

“It’s nothing we have any control over,” he said, adding that there has been a heightened awareness of sexual offenses over the past several months in the national news.

Shoplifting was up from 147 in 2016 to 178 in 2017.

Stealing over $500 was down from 66 in 2016 to 62 in 2017, while misdemeanor stealing increased from 261 reports in 2016 to 344 in 2017.

Brune said the increases are in line with the drug problem in the area.

“Most of the shoplifting cases that we go to, the (suspect is) in possession of drugs,” Brune said.