Leaders from the Wright County Sheriff’s Department recently presented annual activity reports for the cities of Albertville and St. Michael to their respective city councils. Here’s a breakdown of how sheriffs used their time in STMA last year, plus some trends and comparisons.
The city of Albertville has been contracting services from the Wright County Sheriff’s department for over 40 years, and they currently receive 28 hours per day of coverage from the department. Costs have risen for the sheriff department’s services, from $56 hourly in 2009 for an annual total of $490,000, to this year’s $74.50 hourly rate and projected cost of $761,000.
Of the 5,896 calls made from Albertville last year, 2,907 of these became case reports that required further investigation. 475 crime-related incidents occurred, with theft topping the list at 335 calls. 56 fraud cases came in a distant second, followed by 37 drug incidents and 23 incidents of criminal damage to property. Albertville recorded seven assaults last year, three sex-related crimes, three burglaries and one robbery.
Last year’s number of significant incidents was slightly higher than the previous five years of crime incidents in Albertville, with the increase due to 50 additional thefts over 2017 and a dozen more drug incidents.
Sheriffs also fielded 1,361 “quality of life” calls, ranging from medical incidents, welfare checks, animal-related incidents, noise, and security alarms, and others. They took 2,358 traffic calls, with the vast majority (1,857) of those being traffic stops but also 169 being motor vehicle accidents and 33 DUIs.
Albertville sees the highest number of calls to police on Fridays and Saturdays, with the earlier evening hours being the busiest time of day for calls to come in.
St. Michael bumped their police coverage from 24 to 32 hours per day in 2005, and they have remained there ever since. Annual costs for police service have risen from $654,000 in 2009 to a projected $870,00 for 2019.
Deputies responded to 9,627 calls to St. Michael last year, with 4,298 calls requiring further investigation. St. Michael’s significant incidents in 2018 were comparable to the past five years, with slightly higher numbers of theft over last year (210 versus 193), but lower numbers over last year for burglary, criminal damage to property and drugs. Sex-related crimes reached a five year high of 13, versus eight the year prior. In total, sheriffs received 411 calls last year that they classified significant incidents, over 417 in 2017.
Additionally, Wright County sheriffs responded to 2,116 quality of life calls in St. Michael last year, with 558 medical calls making up the largest share, followed by alarm calls and suspicious activity. They had 3,698 traffic calls, with 2,900 of them being traffic stops and an additional 262 being motor vehicle accidents.
St. Michael sees the highest number of calls on Thursdays and Fridays, with the early evening being the busiest time of day, as with Albertville.
“Overall, St. Michael continues to have a very low crime rate, good response times and a very low cost per capita compared to other cities our size,” City Administrator Steve Bot said.
Albertville is a smaller city in both population and total area than its neighbors Otsego and St. Michael, with a population of 7,400 compared with around 17,000 in each Otsego and St. Michael, and its crime rates were smaller by comparison in most instances last year. Burglary and sex-related crimes were especially low in Albertville last year compared with its neighbors, even accounting for the population difference, with two Albertville burglaries and three sex-related crimes compared with 13 and 18 in St. Michael and 15 and 17 in Otsego, respectively.
On the flip side, Albertville had significantly more theft violations last year than either St. Michael or Otsego, with 335 compared with 208 and 232 reports, respectively. Albertville also had more drug crime last year per capita than its neighboring cities, with 37 in Albertville, 27 in Otsego and 38 in St. Michael. St. Michael and Albertville each had 33 DUIs last year, compared with 51 for Otsego.