TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Crime rates are going down across the state. There are 2,200 fewer people in county jails across the state right now. That's according to Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington, who is also the President of the Indiana Prosecutor's Association.
That trend is holding true in Tippecanoe County.
"Usually we average well over 500 people per day in jail and as of this morning (Monday, April 6th) we had 420," said Sheriff Bob Goldsmith. "That's a significant decrease."
Sheriff Goldsmith also said numbers are down significantly compared to this time last year.
"Last year March 23rd to March 29th we had 133 people booked in that week compared to the same calendar days, March 21st to March 28th, we had 49 people booked in," he said.
Goldsmith is making it a point to keep the inmates informed of what's going on in the world. He said he went back to the jail to have a talk with each individual person to ease their worries. They have extra food, commissary and PPE should it get to that point. However, he confirmed there are no cases of coronavirus in the Tippecanoe County Jail.
"I explained what was going on, tried to clear up a few rumors because even though they're inside these walls 24/7 they still hear rumors," he said. He even got a thank you note from one of the inmates on Monday thanking him for being upfront with them.
Lafayette Police Sgt. Mike Brown said they are also seeing changes.
"We have seen a significant down trending in basically all crimes categories," he said.
Sgt. Brown sent a graph showing crime trends starting on January 1st, 2020. It indicates when the national emergency was declared by the federal government and when Governor Eric Holcomb announced the stay at home order. All three categories of calls, arrests and traffic crashes go down. See graph at the bottom of this story.
"The biggest majority of it that we see in this down trend is because of the amazing adaptation that our community is doing," said Sgt. Brown.
However he said despite crime rates going down, there will be no need to furlough or lay off any of their officers.
"We are here for what is going to happen or what could happen and it's still important that we have enough officers in comparison to our population," he said.
Sheriff Goldsmith said the one area where they are seeing a slight increase in calls is domestic violence cases.
"Tensions run high and a lot of people are out of work right now, either some are laid off because of this and others are losing their jobs all together and that's an added stress level," he said. Sgt. Brown said they are seeing all types of battery calls decrease.
Sheriff Goldsmith said the county leaders are all working together, which is needed since no one has a handbook for how to deal with a pandemic in our community.
"People are still trying to learn and we're learning as they learn and we pass it on to our staff and the inmates as well," he said.
And that's where Sgt. Brown says it's so important to have cooperation and understanding.
"Thank you to our community for adapting to the changes that we have made," he said. "We do appreciate that and so we ask for everyone to continue with their patience and we'll get back to things operating normally as soon as we can."
Both agencies are hopeful people will focus on getting back to normal once the restrictions are lifted. However, they prepared for a possible increase in crime again. In the meantime, they are urging people to listen to the guidelines established by Governor Holcomb.