Madisonville Police Chief Chris Taylor had good news for the City Council Tuesday evening — a report with lots of minus signs.
Final numbers for 2019 show crimes in the city dropped by 29% in 2019. The number of “traffic accidents,” as Taylor’s report called them, dropped by 6%.
“I’m very pleased,” Taylor said after the council meeting. He thinks the crime rate dropped due to his department’s method of policing.
“We’re looking at using more of the data that we’re getting in, and trying to focus our efforts in those areas that we see the crimes,” Taylor said.
For example, he mentioned during the meeting that police have noticed a recent spike in thefts in east Madisonville.
“Most of our crime has got some kind of drug involvement in it,” Taylor said.
The Narcotics Unit alone seized more than $3.5 million worth of illegal drugs last year, he said. Synthetic drugs accounted for 81% of all drug seizures, with a street value of $1.7 million.
“Methamphetamine has become less expensive than what it was a few years ago,” Taylor said. Yet meth made up only 15% of the seizures.
In contrast, seizures of crack cocaine and marijuana last year by the Narcotics Unit were valued at only around $3,000 each.
But “The Best Town on Earth” still is not completely crime-free. Taylor’s report showed the number of juvenile arrests jumped 21% last year, from 53 to 64. The number of active criminal cases at the end of 2019 was 327, up 26% from 2018.
In terms of major crimes, the number of homicides in Madisonville in 2019 held steady at one. The rape count dropped from six to five. Only 15 assaults were reported, for a drop of 63%. And the arson rate was cut in half, from six to three.
City Council members did not comment on Taylor’s report during the meeting.
In other City Council business Tuesday:
• Fire Chief John Dunning presented his own year-end report. It shows Madisonville had 515 fire calls last year, which led to more than $702,000 in damage.
• a lease agreement was approved with Heavy Metal Properties for the old West Kentucky Hospital Services building at 1860 North Main St. City Attorney Joe Evans said the business is a branch of Tungco. It will pay $120 for the first year, then $120,000 in the second.
• nine members of the Tourism Advisory Board were reappointed to one-year terms. Tourism Committee Chair Adam Townsend said the only newcomers will be student members representing the two local high schools.