FRANKLIN - The frequency of major crimes committed in Franklin is trending downward, according to Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva.
Oliva addressed a group of residents at a Franklin Police Academy Citizen Academy Alumni Association event Tuesday, April 11, at the police station, speaking about crime statistics, recent crimes and burglary prevention.
Though the department's annual report is not yet available for 2016, Oliva was still able to broadly speak on crime trends.
"We're overall pretty happy with the level of major crime that's been occurring in Franklin. No level is good, but we had a very, very low serious crime rate in the city," the chief said.
A safe city
Part I offenses, defined as major crimes that must be reported to the FBI, were trending downward in the city throughout the past year, sexual assaults have "dropped dramatically," and burglaries and major thefts are also down, Oliva said.
As a result, he noted, Franklin is ranked the seventh safest city in the state and the safest community in Milwaukee County.
The chief also noted that Franklin has the lowest traffic fatalities in the state.
"A lot has to do with our aggressive speed enforcement of the speed violations here in Franklin," Oliva explained. "The highest complaint we have from citizens is the car speed, especially in their neighborhoods. But anywhere in the city, it's a big complaint. So we are very aggressive in addressing speeding violations. And again, it's not to generate revenue. It's not to punish people. It's really meant to keep people driving at a reasonable speed, a safe speed."
Most serious crime that does occur in the city tends to be near 27th Street. Oliva said that locations like Walmart and the "lower end motels" along the road tend to that draw crime.
However, since the department is aware of the area trends, police monitor the area very closely and work to keep the effect on the city "very, very limited."
Crime this year
So far in 2017, crime rates seem to be slightly lower than they were last year at the same time. For example, Oliva said, the department is "under the same pace" in burglaries compared to last year and "on pace" in car theft.
To date, there have been 14 burglaries in the city; two were businesses, one was a barn and 11 were homes.
Since burglaries are one of the most common crimes in the city, being "under the same pace" is a positive place to be, especially since burglaries can be some of the most difficult crimes for police to prevent, he noted.
"You've got the burglar that picks the time and place," said Oliva. "And we have to be at the right place at the right time. It's very difficult."
However, the chief did say that there are ways to prevent burglaries, such as by making one's home "target hard."
"Most of our burglaries usually are due to unlocked doors, and a big point of entry for some of those burglaries is the patio door," Oliva said. "A lot of people leave their patio door unlocked, so it's a big entry point."
An easy way to make a home "target hard," then, is making sure all doors are locked. Things like security cameras, or even dummy cameras, can also dissuade burglars from choosing a particular home as their target.