The population is up, but crime is down. The latest crime statistics for the city of Tyler show an eight percent decrease of crime this past years. The decrease Tyler police are happiest about are violent crimes. In the past year, homicides dropped by half. Sexual assaults went down from 50 in 2005 to 41 in 2006. Burglaries saw a 25 percent drop, and auto thefts have continued to go down from 229 in 2004 to 169 last year.
For less violent crimes, drug violations went down by six percent. DUI's continue to drop, and forgerys decreased by almost 40 percent. Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle says there are many reasons for the decline.
"Back in the '80's the economy wasn't that booming in Tyler and the crime rate really went through the roof, so I think it's safe to say there is a direct relation between the economy and the crime rate," said Chief Gary Swindle. "Also, age of population. I think it's been proven the older you are the less likely you are to commit crimes." Another statistic that surprises police is the drop in traffic accidents by almost eight percent. The reason, police believe are the recent construction of medians in South Broadway and the weather.
"We've also had a very dry year if you will in 2006, and so people weren't out in bad weather," said Swindle. All together, Swindle says the crime statistics show even though the population is up, Tyler continues to be a safe place to live.