BILLINGS – The Billings Police Department released Monday the city’s crime statistics for 2018.
Overall calls for service were slightly lower last year, dropping from 94,643 in 2017 to 93,325 in 2018. But despite lower total numbers, the number of violent crimes committed in the Billings area are up this year.
In 2018, police reported 663 violent crimes, up from 540 in 2017 and 513 in 2016. This coming from a significant increase in the number of aggravated assaults reported in 2018, up 116 from the previous year.
But the report states that increase is largely in part to new crime guidelines implemented in the state. Last year was the first that partner family member assault – strangulation has been included under the umbrella of “aggravated assault,” which increased the numbers by 121 cases.
The increase can also be seen in the four murders in Billings in 2018, up from two reported in 2017. Robberies were also up from 97 reported to 113 in 2018. In the same period, a decrease in reported rapes from 81 in 2017 to 70 last year.
Sexual abuse of children remains a serious problem, with 321 cases of child sex assault and abuse cases investigated in 2018.
Meanwhile, what the city defines as property crimes are down in 2018. Property crimes consist of burglary, larceny, vehicle theft and arson cases. After a spike in 2017, numbers of property crimes reported are down across all four classifications by a total of about 900.
Billings also saw an increase in drug-related violations in 2018, reaching the highest numbers in at least the last five years.
In 2018, there were 1,910 reported drug offenses, compared to 1,697 in 2017.
The High Intensity Drug Task Force reported taking 130 pounds of meth off the streets in the last year, and dismantling 14 criminal drug organizations.
Another topic addressed in the report is the number of fatal crashes in the city, up from six in 2017 to 13 in 2018. The report identified three intersections in the city as the most dangerous; Grand Avenue and Shiloh Road, King Avenue and Shiloh Road and King Avenue and 24th Street West.
The report also outlined a 30% reduction of calls in city parks, with 117 arrests and 402 citations, with the introduction of a new City Parks officer.
Read the full report here.
Reporting by Samantha Sullivan for MTN News