OPINION COLUMNS

Arrested Developments: Decatur’s overall crime numbers down, with one exception

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, February 2, 2019
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Welcome to the first Arrested Developments column, where I’ll share some news and views related to law enforcement and criminal justice from a Wise County perspective. The goal is to share what’s going on with local police and sheriff’s departments as well as the goings-on at the courthouse. Occasionally, I might also take a look at a state or national trend and how it might affect Wise County or its citizens.

Brian Knox

So buckle up and let’s go.

DECATUR PD ANNUAL REPORT

Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins shared some interesting numbers in his annual report to the city council Monday night.

The report included the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, which includes a number of areas including murder/manslaughter, robbery, sexual assault, motor vehicle theft, burglary, assaults and theft.

“In 2018, the (UCR) numbers were the lowest in the last nine years,” Hoskins said.

One area that has increased is drug arrests. The department made 170 drug arrests last year, 30 more than 2017. The number of drug arrests have increased every year since the 41 arrests in 2013.

“That’s mostly concentrated on highways,” Hoskins explained, mentioning the department has added a drug-sniffing dog.

The total value of property stolen in 2018 was $735,393. Most of that was from a single embezzlement case of $525,000. Another $92,000 came from eight vehicles that were stolen. The department recovered $25,366 worth of stolen property.

As far as calls, Hoskins said dispatchers receive an average of 7,500 calls per month, with about 500 to 600 of those calls being from 9-1-1.

IRS SCAM

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin recently shared a post on social media after he received a call with a recorded voice announcing he was being sued by the IRS.

“With a dire sense of urgency the mechanical voice instructed me to call the number in order to avoid certain prosecution,” Akin said.

It’s a common scam this time of year during tax season, and he warned Wise County residents not to fall for it.

Akin explained the real IRS communicates via U.S. mail and does not make threatening calls.

MURDER TRIAL RESCHEDULED

It looks like I won’t be covering a murder trial next week as originally planned.

The murder trial of Bridgeport resident Johnny Ray Armstrong was rescheduled from Feb. 5 to June 4 in 271st District Court in Wise County.

Armstrong is accused of shooting 20-year-old Ruben Dunlap of Bridgeport Feb. 28 of last year at Armstrong’s home in the 1500 block of Brush Street in Bridgeport. Dunlap was taken to Medical City Denton where he died after being taken off life support the following day.

That’s currently the second murder trial scheduled for this year. William Wyatt Oakes, the 17-year-old who is accused of shooting and killing his father in Rhome in August of 2017, is currently set for trial May 14.

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