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Crime decreases in Thiensville in 2012

Chief says new Stop and Welcome program could reduce incidents even more

May 21, 2013

Thiensville — Crime in Thiensville decreased 28 percent in 2012, based on year-to-year comparisons. The statistic was one of several revealed in Thiensville Police Department's recently released 2012 report.

The number of reported part I crimes — significant incidents that include burglaries, thefts, murders and sexual assaults — dropped from 32 in 2011 to 19 in 2012.

Throughout last year, there were 10 incidents of theft, three burglaries, three cases of battery and three sexual assaults. There were no murders, robberies, motor vehicle thefts or cases involving arson.

The second category, part II crimes, dipped from 79 cases in 2011 to 68 in 2012. The category includes vandalism, cases involving disorderly conduct, drug possession and drunken driving. Many of last year's part II crimes were linked to disorderly conduct, underage drinking, forgery and gas drive-offs.

Reported vehicle accidents also dipped, from 40 in 2011 to 37 in 2012. Twenty-six of the incidents involved property damage, and eight of the cases took place within parking lots. None of last year's vehicle accidents were linked to alcohol consumption.

Staff fluctuated

Police Chief Scott Nicholson, who assumed his leadership role within the department midway through last year, presented his report Monday to the Village Board. He said the drop in crime occurred during a year of fluctuating staff.

"Our department is very proud of these numbers; (they) prove once again our community is safe with an extremely low crime rate," Nicholson said. "Our officers will continue with due diligence to avoid anyone from being a victim of a crime in Thiensville. If a crime occurs, (we) will bring those responsible to the courts."

Three sworn personnel — including former Police Chief Richard Preston — retired last year, and two hires were made. A sergeant position remains vacant. There are six sworn officers working in the department.

Despite the staffing shifts, Nicholson said training remained a priority within the department. As a group, police took part in 128 hours on coursework that included hands-on exercises and updates in tactical and legal issues.

All officers, he said, participate in annual firearms training, either through an in-service program through Milwaukee Area Technical College or an in-house firearms instructor.

Engaging residents

This year, Nicholson said the department is working to keep crime statistics low as new officers assimilate into the department. A new initiative, Stop and Welcome, is under way and is designed to give officers more of an opportunity to actively engage with residents through bike patrols.

"I'm very encouraged and very excited about 2013," Nicholson said.

The board lauded Nicholson and other members of the department for their work.

"Thank you for assuming the chief's role and doing such a great job," Trustee John Treffert said to Nicholson.

In addition to providing a core service that is expected of residents and business owners, Trustee Kenneth Kucharski said the department has added value to people looking to move into the community.

"This is a really good marketing tool," Kucharski said. "People are attracted to these low numbers."

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