A major increase in larcenies fueled a 3.2 rise in crimes in Salt Lake City during 1988, according to recently released police department statistics.

Last year's crimes numbered 74,994, compared with 72,659 in 1987. Calls for service also increased with the department responding to 124,668 calls, or 3.3 percent more than in 1987.Burglary reports decreased in 1988, dropping 10 percent to 3,590 compared to a year earlier.

At the same time, larcenies increased more than 9 percent to 16,223. Larcenies include shoplifting and purse snatching.

"People are taking more precautions against burglaries, making the burglaries harder to commit," said police Lt. Tom Brown.

"At the same time, the opportunity for larcenies is still there, so we have people turning to larceny as a means of supplying their livelihood instead of burglary," said Brown, a watch commander who oversees shifts in the department.

Downtown's foot patrol unit has reported increases in the number of thefts reported in offices. Those include the secretary who leaves her purse while making copies and finds her wallet gone when she returns.

"There's been a steady increase in larceny for the past several years, that's been the most significant change," said Brown.

"I think it's a change in pattern. People are finding larceny is more easy to commit and get away with than robbery or burglary."

The number of homicides in Salt Lake City increased from 13 in 1987 to 16 last year. While 11 murders were cleared in both years, the percent decreased for 1988.

Aggravated assaults and rapes decreased, the numbers show, while arsons increased in 1988. Slight jumps were noted in robberies and auto theft.

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CHART

Crime in the city

1987 1988 No.+/- Percent

Homicide 13 16 3 23.1

Forcible rape 94 87 -7 -7.4

Robbery 482 484 2 0.4

Agg. assault 501 443 -58 -11.6

Burglary 3,997 3,590 -407 -10.2

Larceny 14,862 16,223 1,361 9.2

Auto theft 923 933 10 1.1

Arson 118 127 9 7.6

All crimes total 72,659 74,994 2,335 3.2