By Matthew Murray 
BELLEVILLE – Police presence was a major factor in reducing the crime rates in Belleville from July to September 2016 as rates dropped from 2015 to 2016, the Belleville Police Services Board  reported at its meeting Monday.
However, the crime prevention and community outreach programs put on by the police were just as important in tackling the crime rates in Belleville, Coun. Jack Miller told QNet News.
More vigilance from the community and the help from non-law enforcement agencies like the local mental health services also played roles in curbing crime in the city, he added.
The total number of actual crimes committed in Belleville for the third quarter to rise by 18 from 1,860 in 2015 to 1,878 in 2016. All crimes mentioned by the police services board report  saw drops in cases, excluding motor vehicle thefts. The thefts were the only crime that rose in the third quarter of 2016, going from 11 cases in 2015 to 15.
Drug-related offences were almost the same in the city, with only three fewer cases of drug offences from July to September of last year.
Belleville police responded to calls for assaults most during the third quarter for both years, the report states. Assaults in the city dropped from 154 cases in 2015 to 95 in 2016 for the third quarter. Sexual offences in the third quarter of 2016 dropped by over half from 40 in 2015 to 19.
Reducing violent crime in Belleville was the biggest goal for the police services board, and it may look into focussing on reducing other types of crime going forward, Miller said.
“Violent crimes are down, and that’s clearly a priority,” Miller said, “and maybe there are other areas that we now need to address.”