If you're a kid in Whitpain, you may want to think a little more carefully about leaving your bicycle unlocked. Ambler residents and businesses, meanwhile, may want to reconsider investing in a burglar alarm system.
These are some of the insights one might glean from the local data in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports for 2010, which were released Monday. More than 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country submit crime data to the the FBI, including the police departments in Ambler, Lower Gwynedd and Whitpain.
The numbers indicate modest increases in most crime categories in all three municipalities when compared to 2009. Each town reported increases in violent crime, particularly aggravated assaults, which were up almost 50 percent in the area.
Property crime, a category that includes burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft, was up 31 percent in Whitpain Township in 2010. Lower Gwynedd and Ambler saw smaller increases of 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
The bulk of Whitpain's increase was in the larceny-theft category. The township's police department reported 203 such crimes in 2010, up from 150 the previous year. Larceny-theft includes crimes such as shoplifting, bicycle theft, motor vehicle parts theft, or "the stealing of any property or article that is not taken by force and violence or by fraud." Attempted larcenies are included in the data.
Despite the increase, Whitpain's larceny-theft rate was only about half the national average of 2,004 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants. Lower Gwynedd was also well below that national average for larceny-theft, with 1,445 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants. Ambler's larceny-theft rate was above the national average, with 2,187 incidents per 100,000 residents.
It should be noted that because each of the three municipalities has substantially fewer than 100,000 residents, relatively small changes in the number of incidents from year to year can dramatically affect this measurement.
There were 13 motor vehicle thefts in Whitpain, almost double the number in 2009. Lower Gwynedd reported five car thefts, down from six in 2009, and Ambler also reported five, up from three in 2009.
Ambler saw the largest percentage jump in any crime category among the three towns. After just five burglaries reported in 2009, the borough had 14 burglary cases last year.
Ambler is the most heavily policed of the three towns, with about one police officer for every 445 people. Whitpain has about one for every 634 people, while Lower Gwynedd has about one for every 646 people.
Nationwide, violent crime arrests were down 5.3 percent from 2009 to 2010, while property crime arrests were down 4.7 percent from the previous year.
Violent crime (2009 figures in parentheses)MunicipalityPopulation
assault Ambler6,22813 (10)
Lower Gwynedd11,62719 (11)
Property crime (2009 figures in parentheses)MunicipalityProperty
theft Ambler155 (147)
Lower Gwynedd186 (175)