2014 edition of annual Morgan County crime report out

By Gary Scott on January 25, 2015 at 8:30am

Sheriff Randy Duvendack released the stats last week, which reflect activity outside Jacksonville. They show a few noteworthy spikes and decreases.

There were 23 burglaries last year, a decrease of 20 from 2013. On the other side, there were 24 more theft cases reported last year, totaling 69. Duvendack says one thing is clear about why theft is up:

“We’re having more cyber thefts, so to speak. Identity theft, credit card fraud, I think that kind of crime is on the upswing, and those are difficult for local law enforcement to work, where you’re dealing with a suspect in another state or another country,” he says. “We really rely on the federal authorities.”

And Duvendack¬†says he’s happy to see the burglary numbers down.

“Particularly, residential burglaries. I want people’s homes to be their castle,” he says. “That’s what everybody wants. We want people to feel secure in their home.”

Duvendack says scrap metal theft is still a problem in Morgan County. There were two motor vehicle thefts, the same annual amount as in 2013. There were nearly 14 percent more criminal damage or trespass cases, totaling 56.

There was one arson case, on which the sheriff’s department is still working. There were six criminal sexual assaults, an increase of five from the previous year.

There were also six assault cases. That’s an annual increase of five, but Duvendack doesn’t believe there were actually more assaults this year; he thinks it’s a matter of what gets reported. There were nine battery cases and 15 domestic battery cases, in both instances a decrease of three.

In terms of drugs arrests, there were 117 total. Cannabis was once again the main substance seized. There were 57 arrests for people with pot. Duvendack notes some of the arrests were big ones.

“We did have a couple of significant arrests. We had the lady who had 121 pounds [of marijuana] stopped on the interstate; I believe that case is still pending. Another stop not too long ago, just a couple months, out there [on Interstate 72] where there was a little pursuit for a while. We got 12 or 13 pounds out of that, that was being trafficked through Morgan County,” says Duvendack.

There was one other pot arrest that netted more than 10 pounds.

There were 41 drug paraphernalia arrests.

There were only three meth-related arrests on the report, but those numbers don’t reflect the work done by deputies with the Central Illinois Enforcement Group, who often respond to illegal meth operations in the county.

Duvendack estimates there were about a dozen such operations that were uncovered in Morgan County last year.

There were no homicide cases in 2014 outside Jacksonville. There were no child abuse cases.

There were 1,600 more calls made to 911 than in 2013, totaling about 7,100 last year.

“A part of that may be by our population changing. It’s getting older; I know a significant amount of the 911 calls are medical,” he says. “People are carrying a cell phone; everybody’s got a cell phone now. You’re driving down the street, you see something, you see a DUI, you see an accident.

“Last winter was a bad winter as far as weather goes. Very cold, a lot of snow, a lot of cars in the ditch,” explains Duvendack.

The clearance rate this year was 60 percent for all criminal offenses.

There were 453 criminal offenses reported last year, a decrease of 14 over the year. The county handled just over 8,000 requests for service.