By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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The increase in burglaries was part of a spike in criminal activity in unincorporated Clallam County in 2012, Benedict told about two dozen members and guests at the Port Angeles Business Association’s breakfast meeting.
Only felony assaults decreased — from 14 to 12, for a 17 percent dip — in the 14 criminal categories for which the 2011 vs. 2012 totals were compiled.
Benedict said that doesn’t mean he needs more officers.
“In our particular situation, right here in Clallam County, I don’t know that putting more officers in the street is going to solve more crimes, particularly violent crime,” said Benedict, in his seventh year as the county’s elected sheriff.
Most of Clallam County’s 72,000 residents — 59 percent — live in unincorporated areas of the county.
Here’s the statistical rundown of criminal activity in unincorporated Clallam County that was presented Tuesday by Benedict and Community Policing Services Coordinator Lorraine Shore:
-- Burglaries: 2011: 279; 2012: 364; up 31 percent.
-- Robberies: 2011: 2; 2012: 13; up 550 percent.
-- Thefts: 2011: 776; 2012, 838; up 8 percent.
-- Homicides: 2011: 1; 2012: 7; up 600 percent.
-- Sex offenses: 2011: 36; 2012, 42; up 17 percent.
-- Rapes: 2011: 7; 2012: 7.
-- Sex offender registration violations: 2011: 12; 2012, 21; up 75 percent.
-- Misdemeanor assaults: 2011: 170; 2012: 180; up 6 percent.
-- Threats-harassment: 2011: 387; 2012: 429; up 11 percent.
-- Fraud: 2011: 222; 2012: 223.
-- Bank Fraud: 2011: 1; 2012: 0.
-- Forgery: 2011: 5; 2012: 9; up 80 percent.
-- Possession of stolen property: 2011: 5; 2012: 12; up 140 percent.
Shore said that while many homeowners are fearful of home invasions, 95 percent of home burglaries occur when an occupant is not there.
“They go to great lengths to not have someone in the home,” Shore said.
Those lengths include casing a house by riding a bicycle around the neighborhood or simply knocking on the door, she said.
Drug usage is a common thread in criminal activity in unincorporated Clallam County, Shore and Benedict said.
Most of the robberies, for example, were “drug-related, doper on doper, basically,” Shore said.
Most burglaries also are drug-related, Benedict said.
“The correlation we have found is that most of the burglaries are committed by young men and women who are also heroin addicts,” he said, adding that more often than not, opiates play a part in the crime.
Car thefts are nearly non-existent now that it is almost impossible to hot-wire newer cars, Benedict said.
Benedict also cautioned homeowners to not leave their mail in their mailboxes overnight.
“Mail theft usually occurs at 2 or 3 in the morning, so if you clean out your mail, you’ll be OK,” he said.
Benedict described how Adam Justin Lysiak, 38, of Port Townsend came to be charged last week with 12 counts of second-degree possession of stolen property and one count of possession of stolen mail.
Benedict said Lysiak was arrested on a “fairly minor warrant” as part of a multi-agency warrant sweep conducted Tuesday through Thursday in Clallam and Jefferson counties that saw 30 warrants cleared and 26 arrests made.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.