Crime was down overall last year in Box Elder County despite a statewide increase in Utah, according to an annual summary detailing crimes reported to law enforcement agencies across the state.
But while Box Elder saw a significant drop in the number of property crimes last year, the county also experienced an increase in violent crimes.
The Utah Department of Public Safety’s 2020 Crime in Utah Report indicated a 5.7% statewide rise overall over 2019 in an index made up of several categories of some of the most serious offenses.
Of those categories, homicide saw the biggest increase with a 44% jump over 2019 numbers, contributing to an overall increase of just over 1% in violent crime. Robberies were up 5.8% percent and aggravated assaults increased 2.7%, but the number of reported rapes was down 10%.
Statewide, property crime was up 6.2%, driven by a 35% spike in automobile theft and a 40% jump in arson, as well as smaller increases in burglaries (1.2%) and larceny (3.5%). The reports states that rates of theft are significantly higher in Utah than the United States as a whole.
“Overall crime has been on a downward trend since 2016, but the data show that violent crime is increasing,” a summary press release from DPS stated. “This was a true increase in reported crimes, not just due to a growing population.”
A total of 79,077 crimes fitting into the index categories in the report were reported in Utah last year. There were 84,050 arrests reported in 2020, representing a a 20.74% decrease from 2019.
Box Elder County saw an overall decrease of nearly 5.6% in index crimes, with the total number falling from 755 in 2019 to 713 last year. Accounting for population growth, the incidence of reported index crimes fell from 13.6 to 12.6 per 1,000 residents.
Mirroring the statewide figures, arrests were also down in Box Elder County, falling more than 14% to 495 last year.
Breaking the numbers down by category of crime, Box Elder County saw increases in some areas and declines in others.
Violent crimes were up overall last year countywide, based on the following categories:
• There were no homicides reported in the county last year, compared with one in 2019.
• The number of rape cases grew from 19 to 24, a number that stands in contrast to Utah as a whole, where reported rapes were down 10%.
• There were two reported robberies, compared with one in 2019.
• The number of reported incidents of aggravated assault grew from 40 to 45.
The overall decrease in Box Elder County crime was driven largely by a drop in property crimes:
• Burglaries fell significantly, from 164 to 110.
• The number of larceny cases decreased from 476 to 461.
• Motor vehicle thefts rose from 54 in 2019 to 68 in 2020, an increase of nearly 26%. Statewide, vehicle thefts were up nearly 35%.
• There were three arson cases reported in the county last year, compared with none in 2019.
The annual report also compiles data from individual law enforcement agencies.
The Tremonton and Garland police departments, which reported statistics as a single, combined agency for the first time last year, saw total index crimes rise from 158 in 2019 to 167 in 2020, driven by more cases of rape (11 in 2020, up from six in 2019), larceny (up from 90 to 102) and vehicle theft (up from 10 to 19). The Tremonton-Garland Police Department reported year-over declines in aggravated assault (from eight cases to three), burglary (from 40 to 32) and arson (from two to zero).
Despite the overall increase in numbers, the crime rate in the Tremonton area fell from approximately 17 to 14 cases per 1,000 residents.
Brigham City accounts for the largest share and number of crimes in Box Elder County, but saw significant improvement last year. While the largest city in the county accounted for 49.5% of all Box Elder County index crimes in 2019, that share fell to 44% last year. The city’s crime rate fell from 19 to about 16 crimes per 1,000 residents.
The largest increase in reported crimes among Box Elder agencies happened in Perry, which saw total index crimes increase from 64 in 2019 to 88 in 2020, driven mainly by a spike in larceny (theft of personal property). The fast-growing community’s crime rate rose from 12.4 to 16.5 cases per 1,000 residents.
While last year’s overall increase in crime in Utah was the first year-over increase in four years, the total number was still well below a peak of 96,788 index crimes reported in 2016.
“It’s important to remember that even though there were increases in various index crimes, one year does not make a trend,” DPS Commissioner Jess Anderson said in a prepared statement. “Despite the numbers we reported, Utah remains a very safe state.”
Crime in Utah reports dating back to 1997 are readily available online at bci.utah.gov.