Craig police report more drug violations in 2004 |

Craig police report more drug violations in 2004

Craig Police officers found more drugs and paraphernalia on Craig residents and those passing through town in 2004 than ever before, marking an increase of nearly 300 percent compared with four years ago.

According to 2004 figures provided by the Craig Police Department, drug and narcotics violations increased 81 percent over the previous year. That means officers handled 38 more of those kinds of cases — or 85 — last year compared with 2003. Subsequently, the amount of drug equipment and paraphernalia found by officers increased 74 percent in 2004 over the previous year. Officers handled 32 more of those kinds of cases, for a total of 75 in 2004. Compared with 2001, the levels of drug and narcotics violations in Craig have increased 270 percent, according to the report.

“A lot of it is because of an increase of meth use,” said Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta. “It’s a lot more prevalent than it used to be.”

Overall, the department experienced its busiest year for calls for service. Officers handled 14,958 calls in 2004. That’s 1,714 more, or a 13 percent increase, over the previous year. In addition, calls for service in 2004 mark a 40 percent increase since 2000.

“The year 2004 was one of the most productive and busiest years in Craig Police Department history,” Vanatta penned in the report. “Our staff handled a record number of calls for service and maintained an above-average clearance rate.”

The department’s clearance rate — or the number of cases that officers have completed an investigated or forwarded charges to a charging agency — was 42 percent in 2004. That figure is “somewhat skewed” Vanatta said in the report, because some cases are cleared a year after a case is opened.

Vanatta said the police department’s clearance rates are still better than the national average’s clearance rate, which is about 20 percent.

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