A cursory glance at the most recent crime report from the Virginia State Police shows crime declining in Shenandoah County’s southernmost town.
New Market Police reported 54 incidents and 59 offenses in 2017, according to data from state police. One year later, between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018, police reported 44 incidents and 49 offenses.
Chris Rinker, New Market’s police chief, wrote in an email to the Northern Virginia Daily that while state police produce an annual report, they collect their data from monthly reports filed by departments.
Month to month monitoring is more helpful than comparing year to year, Rinker wrote.
“We gauge these numbers on a monthly basis and then review the overall year data when they come out,” Rinker wrote. “With reviewing this data on a monthly basis (it allows) us to determine if we need to do community outreach to alert residents of a recent rash of incidents or what enforcement the police department needs to do.”
Larceny had the most precipitous fall, Rinker noted, as there were 17 reported incidents in 2017, compared to roughly nine cases in 2018. The two reports differ in format and category between the two years.
Some crimes are declining but over the last six months, Rinker said, fraud has been trending upward. A slough of phone scams has taken many New Market residents — and other county residents — off guard.
Most victims of phone scams realize what happened and report incidents to the police, Rinker said, but the prevalence of the crime has piqued Rinker’s attention.
Agencies are trying to reach out to citizens to warn them of the scams and the scams are changing weekly,” Rinker wrote. “After the citizen realizes what has happened they contact the police department to report these incidents. The local banks are also encouraging citizens to contact the police department.”
During its most recent round of budgeting, New Market Town Council members approved a budget increase for the police department, allowing Rinker to hire one more officer. When the state police report was released in May, New Market had five sworn officers. As of July 1, 2019, Rinker wrote, the department will have six full-time employees, including himself.
Rinker also has access to some part-time employees but urged council members in recent months to approve a budget that would allow him to hire another officer as well as improve the department’s equipment.
Between falling crime rates and another officer coming on board, Rinker said he isn’t concerned about the future of his department or the town. Constant monitoring has led to recent success and its a recipe Rinker doesn’t plan on changing.
“I really can’t think of any concerns that I currently have,” Rinker wrote. “We try to keep an eye on trends and increases of incidents and work on them when they arise.”