Parking lot and street-corner holdups rose dramatically in the first nine months of this year, part of an overall increase in violent crime that has alarmed county police.
Robberies were up 9.3 percent, from 375 incidents through September last year to 410 this year. Officer Vaughn Dykes, police spokesman, attributed the increase to street muggings, since every other category of robbery decreased.
"We're trying to address that with our new tactical patrol units and through directed patrols to those area where our crime analysis unit has told us there are frequent robberies," Dykes said.
The muggers often are drug users looking for quick cash, and they often strike in parking lots, apartment complexes and other open, public areas.
Overall, there was an 11.6 percent increase in violent crimes, a category that consists of homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault; and a 5.3 percent increase in property crimes, a category that consists of burglaries, theft, auto theft and arson.
Aggravated assaults -- those requiring medical aid or in which weapons were used -- rose 15.5 through September. Police said it is difficult to protect citizens from that type of crime because the victim knows the suspect in most cases and the police are called after the assault has occurred.
An 11.5 percent increase in burglaries resulted largely to more break-ins to storage and construction areas, police said. The large number of construction projects in the county might be a factor in that increase, Dykes said.
He said the number of residential burglaries decreased but that he did not have exact numbers.
Other, less serious crimes rose 18.4 percent, Dykes said.
Dykes said a growing population might be a factor in the overall increase in crime.
Pub Date: 11/28/96