Porter County Sheriff's Department

What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Department


Crime Down in Rural Porter County

 Jon L. Hendricks |The Times Porter County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Van Kley calls in a traffic stop Wednesday in Valparaiso. A report released by the department shows major crime in unincorporated Porter County occurred less in 2008 than the previous year.


Crime down in unincorporated Porter County

By Ken Kosky| Friday, March 13, 2009

In these tough economic times, Porter County Sheriff David Lain will gladly accept a drop in crime, even if it's a small one.
The department's 2008 annual report shows there were 1,318 "major" crimes, nine fewer than 2007.
There was one homicide -- the Dec. 19 robbery and killing of convenience store clerk Barbara Heckman -- the same number as 2007. Rapes, robberies, assaults and vehicle thefts all decreased.
Burglaries edged up slightly and thefts increased. But police say the theft category probably would not have increased had it not been for two men who have been charged with stealing as many as 80 catalytic converters off of vehicles.
Lain said the statistics show what he said he already knew: Porter County is a safe place.
"We're very proud of the level of service our police officers give every day and every night. ... People do feel safe," Lain said, adding that is a double-edged sword. Lain said thefts would decrease if people would lock their cars and get valuables out of plain view.
Arrests increased significantly from 1,063 in 2007 to 1,198 in 2008. Traffic tickets and warnings also increased, going from 9,423 to 10,057.
The statistics are for the unincorporated areas of Porter County that are served by the Sheriff's Department and do not include crime in cities and towns.
Lain believes the economy is less likely to turn law-abiding people into thieves than it is to cause some people to turn to alcohol to deal with their stress. The statistics show drunken driving arrests nearly doubled in 2008.
Another interesting statistic is that evictions increased from 841 in 2007 to 1,038 in 2008, and sheriff's sales increased from 493 to 603. They're on a torrid pace so far in 2009, and Lain believes the economy is to blame.
Lain said the department undertook initiatives in 2008 and has new crime-fighting programs in 2009, like the "Look Out For Each Other" program that will be similar to Neighborhood Watch programs.
Police plan to meet with school superintendents in April to form a partnership to keep students safe at school, on buses and after school. 2006 2007 2008

Murder 0 1 1
Rape 1 3 2
Robbery 6 6 2
Assault 295 276 239
Burglary 167 208 211
Theft 907 740 823
Vehicle theft 80 93 40
Total 1,456 1,327 1,318
Source: Porter County Sheriff's Department



Jon L. Hendricks | The Times

Porter County Sheriff Deputy Kevin Van Kley gets out of his patrol car during a traffic stop of a speeding minivan Wednesday in Valparaiso.


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