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Daily brief (1/15): Top picks from the Springfield media

Patches of fog will cover the Ozarks this morning before giving way to a partly sunny day. The high is expected to reach 37.

Tonight will bring patchy, freezing fog as temperatures dip back below freezing, to 20 degrees. A slight chance of snow or freezing rain enters the forecast tomorrow.

Crime coverage

One of today’s top stories is OzarksFirst’s coverage in the rise of conceal-carry gun permits in Greene County. I highlight it here because though the stats are a trend worth reporting, the story uses inflammatory words such as “shocking” and “skyrocketing.”

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office saw an increase in conceal-carry permits in 2010, up to 2,277. Though the story mentions “handguns are flying off the shelves,” the sales information is anecdotal, and the exact crime rate of Springfield isn’t mentioned. And someone who already owned a gun may just now be getting a conceal-carry permit.

Springfield crime statistics (PDF) did show an increase for the first six months of 2010. But dig deeper into the numbers before deciding how crime-ridden Springfield is:

  • Rapes and robberies remained about the same, with single-digit changes in number of reports.
  • Assaults rose by 95 reports, from 356 to 451. Dividing the number of incidents by total population (157,630), you get .0023 incidents per person in 2009 and .0029 incidents per person in 2010. The likelihood of being assaulted by a random person is very low.
  • Burglaries (which happen when people break into a residence in order to commit a crime) dropped from 1,125 to 1,030.
  • Thefts had the biggest increase from 5,127 to 5,596. It was also the largest crime segment.

Today’s picks:

  • News-Leader: Springfield retailers riding wave of higher spending. Though national statistics showed a slight dip in December spending, 2010 overall was a better year for retailers. (Other coverage: OzarksFirst [KOLR/KSFX])
  • KSMU: CASA receives grant for mental-health training. The grant, from the Musgrave Foundation, will help volunteers representing children how to understand parents dealing with mental illness.
  • KSPR: Silent auction to benefit charity. An auction on Jan. 22 will benefit Pirates Dig a Well, a Branson group raising money to benefit a well project in Ethiopia.

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