The number of reported assaults climbed in Zachary in 2014, as did thefts, while the number of drug arrests took a dip from the previous year and the last homicide committed in the city occurred in 2011, Police Chief David McDavid said.

The largest increase recorded from 2013 to 2014 was in assaults, which include domestic abuse battery and fights, according to 2014 crime statistics.

In 2014, there were 176 assaults reported, compared to 140 in 2013. Of the 176 assaults, 137 resulted in arrests.

Also, there were 406 thefts reported in Zachary last year, as opposed to 390 in 2013, and motor vehicle thefts rose slightly from 18 to 24.

“It’s one of the most commonly committed crimes, McDavid said of reported thefts. Burglaries and drug-related crimes were on the decline. There were 56 burglaries committed in 2014 and 63 in 2013, while the number of drug arrests dropped to 121 in 2014 to 129 in 2013.

“Often, it’s items that are locked up or secured that are stolen,” McDavid said.

As for robberies, of the nine that occurred in 2014, seven resulted in arrests.

McDavid attributes the decline in burglaries to the implementation of more neighborhood watch programs and the decline in drug arrests to the Zachary Police Department’s participation with the Delta Narcotics Task Force as well as the DARE program taught by two officers in the schools.

“There are lots of reasons why crime statistics increase or decrease from year to year. One could say crime escalates due to more people moving into a city or it could decrease because of cold weather, which has been studied. Some can be easily tracked, but sometimes we don’t know the reasons,” McDavid said. “Some people from out of town think Zachary is an easy target, so they flock here to commit crimes, but they learn quickly our department is ever-vigilant.”

McDavid cites the number of drunk-driving arrests over the years as an example of fluctuating statistics. The number of drunk-driving arrests increased to 34 in 2014 from 26 in 2013, but it’s down significantly from 56 in 2011.

McDavid reports that in the last three years, there have been no homicides in Zachary.

The crime statistics also show that there was one arson in 2014 and three reported rapes, which is up slightly from two in 2013.

“Of the three rapes reported last year, three resulted in arrests,” McDavid said. “We had one arson committed last year, and an arrest was made.”

McDavid said when Zachary is compared to other cities of similar size, crime is considered low overall. “Of course, it’s one of the reasons people want to live here, one of the reasons we’re always on those ‘best places to live’ lists,” McDavid said. “But the (department) is always trying to find newer and better ways to serve residents of Zachary, to keep them safe and to keep crime from ever occurring at all.”

One the best ways residents can help keep crime at bay, McDavid said, is to practice prevention and be vigilant of their neighbors and themselves.

“If you see something that doesn’t look right, say something; there’s no crime in reporting a mistake. But the crime that never gets reported doesn’t do anyone any good,” McDavid said.

To report a crime or to contact the Zachary Police Department, call (225) 654-9393 or dial 911 in an emergency.