AVON — With a couple of notable exceptions, crime seems to be on the decline in Avon.
The Avon Police Department recently released its crime statistics for 2012, with comparable numbers dating back to 2008. Looking at the chart, the news is almost all good. For instance, the town’s police officers made 607 total arrests in 2008, compared to 450 last year. The arrest numbers from last year and 2011 went up from the period-low year of 2010.
With two exceptions, various categories of offenses recorded either no change from 2011 or declining number of arrests.
The two exceptions in 2012 were drug-related arrests and disorderly conduct. Avon Police Chief Bob Ticer said the drug arrests can be attributed in large part to the SnowBall Music Festivals in 2011 and 2012. In fact, the number of drug arrests in town last year were the most in the town’s history.
With SnowBall gone, “I can predict with some confidence that we won’t see that number (of drug arrests) in 2013,” Ticer said.
Between 2008 and 2010, drug arrests had been at 50 or fewer. Ticer said people tend to be discreet, especially with marijuana.
“We don’t see a lot of any kind of smoking outdoors,” Ticer said, adding that hasn’t changed in the months since state voters legalized personal possession of small amounts of pot.
In other categories, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and assault set historic lows for numbers of arrests.
Ticer credited the community for the drop in arrests, but said his 18-officer department has also taken some active steps to help cut down on arrests.
Perhaps the biggest step is simply being out on the streets, and not in the office. Ticer said the town’s officers have computer workstations in their patrol cars, which allows them to do routine paperwork while still being out on patrol. The department also has its own detention area, which can cut down on the time required to process someone for, say, an alcohol-related charge.
Ticer said his department has also looked closely at data about when and where crimes take place and is trying to have officers in those places, at those times.
Avon Town Council member Chris Evans said he’s also noticed that the department has become more involved with the community.
That includes participating in open gym nights at the elementary school, and sponsoring other neighborhood-focused events.
“I think they’ve done a terrific job of stepping up its presence,” Evans said. “Just that visible presence seems to be having a deterrent effect on crime.”
Mayor Rich Carroll agreed that the department has done a good job of reaching out to residents.
“I think they’re presenting a friendlier face in town,” Carroll said.
But, Carroll added, the town’s police had a pretty good reputation to build on.
“I know in the last community survey, the impression of the police department was pretty high,” he said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.