Of the Keizertimes

A funny thing happened in 2009, despite a recession that didn’t get any better during the year.

Calls for service for burglaries and auto theft in Keizer plummeted by 31 percent from the previous year. Thefts from vehicles fell about 40 percent from 2008 levels. Even shoplifting saw a slight decline.

So when you see burglaries and vehicle break-ins jump by about a third in 2010, it’s not necessarily a brand new crime wave.

Rather, the numbers for at least burglaries and auto break-ins got back up to levels seen in 2007 and 2008.

Other types of calls, including drugs and those involving interpersonal conflict, have been steadily rising.

Non-criminal domestic incident calls went up 19 percent in 2010 after rising 16 percent in 2009. Assaults were up 21 percent in 2010, and rose by 11 percent in 2009.

“Disturbances are an example where it would not be unordinary to see an increase,” said Keizer Police Capt. Jeff Kuhns. “People have lost jobs, unemployment benefits have come to an end and it’s really easy to see citizens become the subject of the stress this can cause.”

But Kuhns cautioned outside influences and other factors could sway call for service numbers, including increased patrols.

“There are more officers making traffic stops and contacting suspicious persons,” Kuhns said, “and this leads to more case numbers being issued to document their activity.”

And while – thankfully – murders in Keizer are few and far between, there’s been two in the first two months of 2011 after only one in the preceding six years. The death of Lisa Zielinski, 39, is attributed to possible domestic violence; her husband is in the Marion County Jail after being indicted for her murder. The case of Christine Speten, who was found dead in her Orchard Court apartment last week, is still under investigation.

Calls for service regarding Auto theft has declined for the past three years running, a statistic Keizer shares with Salem. Calls for drugs and narcotics rose 35 percent in 2010 after going up 14 percent in 2009.