PENDLETON - Crime stayed about the same in Pendleton from 1998 to 2001, but there were large increases in drug offenses and fraud, according to state statistics.

Police have more and more 9-1-1 calls to deal with each year, too, said Lt. Mark Swanson of Pendleton Police Department.

The agency responded to 10,325 incidents in 2002, nearly 1,000 more than in 1998, when there were 9,372 incidents, according to its own figures.

Oregon's Uniform Crime Reporting Program receives crime data from each police agency in the state, which is divided up into three categories: violent crime, property crime and behavioral crime.

Total offenses in those three categories climbed slightly, from 2,715 in 1998 to 2,759 in 2001 in Pendleton. Total arrests rose a bit, as well, from 1,195 to 1,353.

Violent crime in Pendleton actually decreased slightly from 1998 (299 crimes) to 2001 (297), but at least one offense - murder - will surge in 2002.

Pendleton suffered five murders last year. The city's most recent murder before then was in 1998.

Rape was the only violent crime to show a discernible trend in Pendleton, with one more rape each year from 1998 to 2001, when there were seven reported to the state.

Property crimes decreased slightly in Pendleton as well, going from 1,491 to 1,292 between 1998 and 2001. Fraud had the most notable increase, doubling from 36 to 72 in the time period.

Vandalism, however, dropped from 413 incidents to 335.

The third category, behavioral crimes, rose from 925 to 1,170 between 1998 and 2001, with drug crimes, such as possession, and disorderly conduct showing the greatest increases.

Drug law offenses rose steadily from 53 to 137, and disorderly conduct climbed from 52 to 133.

Driving under the influence of intoxicants hovered around 200 incidents per year in the time period.

Traffic citations and warnings dropped to 5,924 in 2002, down from 6,635 in 2001, according to Pendleton police statistics.

Pendleton still is a safe place to live, stressed Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts.

"You drive around town, you don't see a lot of graffiti, you don't see drug dealing on the corner," Roberts said.

Swanson expected total crime offenses, drug crimes and fraud to keep increasing. And he said state budget cutbacks, which leaves fewer law enforcement personnel in the county to handle calls, will affect the statistics for 2003, as well.

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