Crime in Richardson saw a 2% drop in 2020, according to the city police department’s most recent year-end report.

There were 6,552 known crimes and 2,217 arrests made locally in 2020, Police Chief Jimmy Spivey told members of City Council at a Feb. 8 meeting.

“We’ve been very successful in our crime strategy and deployments,” Spivey said, adding that people staying home more due to the COVID-19 pandemic also likely played a role in the decrease.

The biggest decrease was seen in the number of residential burglaries—down by 31% from 127 incidents in 2019 to 87 last year.

This category has seen consistent declines since 2009, which Spivey contributed to the ramp-up of neighborhood watch programs, the switch to data-driven policing and the increased prevalence of home surveillance systems.

“They scare the thieves away a lot,” Spivey said of Ring cameras and other similar products.

Business burglaries, however, were up 35% in 2020, from 167 in 2019 to 225 last year.

One of the department’s biggest concerns is the uptick in automobile thefts, which saw a 19% increase in 2020 to 289 incidents. This category has been on the rise for the past five years.

“The technology got ahead of the thieves five years ago, but I think the thieves have figured out a way to get ahead of the technology,” Spivey said.

Automobile thefts are a problem across the state, Spivey said. However, much of these crimes could be prevented—about 27% of cars stolen in Richardson last year had the keys in them, he added.

Business robberies are up percentage-wise, but the actual change in incidents—from 19 in 2019 to 22 last year—are still low, Spivey said.

“When you think of how many businesses we have in Richardson ... that’s a pretty low number,” he said.

Spivey encouraged residents and businesses to help the department curb crime by joining its Video Crime Watch programs. Owners of homes or businesses can register their surveillance cameras with the department so that officers can request to review the footage if a crime occurs nearby. There are currently 584 cameras registered citywide, Spivey said.

For more information on the programs, visit this link.