Fewer armed robberies, home burglaries in Pierce County -- but mail theft, heroin use up

TACOMA, Wash. -- In the first six months of 2017, Pierce County sheriff’s deputies say an analysis of the crime statistics shows armed robberies and home burglaries are down.

Detectives say one reason may be that more people have surveillance and security systems in their homes, which makes for harder targets for crooks. The department’s Property Crime Unit is also seeing success.

“We’re able to go out and actively work these people, hold them responsible, put them in jail and we see our crime numbers dropping,” said Detective Ed Troyer.

However, the numbers aren’t all good. While armed robbery is down 22% and residential burglary is 33% lower, mail theft is up 20% and shoplifting has increased 45%. Deputies say you can link those crimes to heroin possession, which is up 12% year to date.

“Unfortunately, with the heroin use going up dramatically, you have these people who have to supply their habits. They are not usually the type that are going to go and kick your door in and drive around and do major residential burglaries but they are going to steal your mail. They’re going to steal your lawnmower. They’re going to steal your bike and probably anything else you don’t have tied down because a good hit of heroin is only 5 bucks and if they can steal something worth a couple of $100 and they can get $5 for it, they will,” Troyer said.

Domestic violence aggravated assaults are up 12% and DV harassment order violations have increased 31%.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean domestic violence is actually up. It could mean more people are reporting it now, which is a good thing," Troyer said.