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Burglaries down, aggravated assaults up. Groves City Marshal talks COVID trends, 2021 expectations.

Perhaps it was the pandemic or the abnormal number of record-breaking weather events, but crime in the city of Groves in 2020 stayed relatively linear with only an increase of 26 incidents from 2019 to 2020.

“While our numbers did increase by four offenses in 2019 and another 26 offenses in 2020, this is still the third lowest crime statistics compiled by the Groves Police Department in this 19-year comparison,” Groves City Marshal Norman Reynolds Jr. said, referencing a larger crime summary from 2002-2020 chronicling reports of murder, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and auto theft.

The breakdown

Groves saw one homicide in 2020 – the first reported since 2014. The city saw a total of seven homicides in the 19-year timeframe.

There were six reported cases of sexual assault last year, one less than in 2019, while there were seven in 2018.

Robbery cases have remained inconsistent with 12 reports in 2020, nine in 2019, and 13 in 2018, according to statistics provided by Reynolds that also were shared with the Groves City Council.

Aggravated assaults were up with 75 reported cases compared to 68 in 2019 and 51 in 2018.

And while 2021 is barely three months in, Reynolds said he is seeing an uptick in related calls.

“They have really increased in the last month,” he said. “I’m kind of anticipating a busier-than-usual summer with everybody held in house, the COVID and the freeze. There’s really a lot of frustration out there. We’ve seen our fair share of domestic violence, crimes against persons.”

The city marshal hopes these crimes lessen as people are able to get outdoors.

In addition, the number of cases are a mix of assaults, not specifically domestic.

Burglary cases were the lowest they’ve been in the 19 years of tabulation with 54 cases. There were 58 in 2019 and 63 in 2018. For comparison, there were 157 cases in 2002.

Theft was up last year compared to previous years with 232 cases, preceded by 215 in 2019 and 231 in 2018. However, there were 268 in 2017.

Auto theft cases were the highest they’ve been since 2008, when there were 41 cases compared to 2020’s 35.

The total amount of crimes against persons is 415, up from 389 the previous year.

“In addition to these numbers I would also like to report to you that our clearance rate continues to increase,” he said in his report. “Having more investigators than in years past continues to give us more options and allows us to concentrate on problem areas as they arise, being more proactive than reactive. Overall, I am satisfied with last year’s numbers and have no significant concerns ahead.”