Wednesday, September 4, 2013
This July, Stutzmans Garden Center in Pratt was broken into three times in ten days.
"Very violated, extremely violated. It's wrong on all terms," manager Charlene Wisdom said.
Crime is up for the entire city of Pratt and police say the biggest jump in numbers have been drug charges, burglaries, and thefts. The number of violent crimes and major felonies has not risen.
In 2012, 101 criminal cases were filed by Pratt Police and Pratt County Sheriff's Office deputies.
So far this year, Pratt police officers alone have already filed 190 criminal cases.
Pratt's police chief says he doesn't know why crime is on the rise, only that it might be linked to the growing population from new oil and construction projects.
"I can't honestly say they're responsible for the increase, however it's kind of a known fact that whenever there's a rise in population there's going to be a rise in criminal activity," Chief Gary Myers said.
Even though crime is up, the number of police officers is the same. There are 12 uniformed officers.
"Same number we had last year, same number we had 20 years ago when I started," Chief Myers said.
Which means officers have less time to spend investigating each crime because they're jumping from call to call.
"It can be very frustrating as a police officer we want to solve crime, that is our job. That is an expectation," Chief Myers said.
Chief Myers says eventually, he'll need more officers but Pratt taxpayers will have to pay for them. So for now, his department will solve as many crimes as they can with the officers it has.