Orem police hope new advancement program improves pay raises 03

Orem police Officer Nathan Newell patrols a neighborhood on Friday, July 19, 2018, in Orem.

All in all, there were significantly fewer crimes overall committed and fewer individuals arrested in Utah last year than during the previous five years, according to recently released statewide statistics.

The Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification published the annual Crime in Utah report last week with documentation and details about all manner of crimes committed in 2018.

The yearly report is a compilation of data from local law enforcement agencies to “give governmental leaders and citizens a better understanding of criminal activity in the state.”

Last year, a total of 80,622 index crimes were committed, a nearly 12% decrease from the total number of index crimes in 2017.

Burglary, motor vehicle thefts, arson and larceny all decreased by an average of 13%, according to the report. The total number of robberies and homicides also fell significantly by 17% and 8%, respectively.

But the number of reported rapes increased by 4.5%, making this the fifth year in a row the number of sexual assaults has increased.

Hate crimes also increased by almost 50%, going from 35 in 2017 to 52 in 2018.

More than 111,830 people were arrested by authorities in 2018, which is lower than the total number of those arrested in the past five years, the report stated.

Firearms were used in 40% of homicides, with 16% of deaths involving family relationships and 84% involved other relations among strangers, acquaintances and significant others.

Many of the homicides happened due to arguments or other and unknown circumstances, the report stated.

Five homicides were reported in Utah County last year, including the death of Lisa Vilate Williams, 26, who was shot and killed in November 2018 by her boyfriend’s ex-wife.

Police reported Lehi high school teacher, Chelsea Watrous Cook, 32, entered the apartment of her ex-husband and shot Williams several times in front of Cook’s 3-year-old twins.

There was also one negligent homicide reported in Utah County last year when a Pleasant Grove utility truck driver slammed into a station wagon waiting at an intersection in Provo.

The crash killed a 2-year-old girl and severely injured her parents and younger sister. But the driver did not serve any jail time as the parents asked the judge for leniency and extended forgiveness to the driver.

The report also honored South Salt Lake Police Department Officer David Romrell who died in the line of duty in November 2018.

The bureau reported there were 4,633 sworn law enforcement officers in Utah as of October 2018. Of the total number of full-time officers, 357 were women and 4,276 officers were men.

Female employees account for 60% of all full-time civilian law enforcement employees in 2018, the report stated.

Ashley Stilson covers crime, courts and breaking news for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2556 or astilson@heraldextra.com.

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