Graffiti and gang activity decreased substantially during the past year in Bountiful.

The annual police report, given to the City Council Wednesday night, shows instances of graffiti dropped from 147 in 1996 to 38 in 1997, a 75 percent decrease. Other gang-related activities, including assaults, harassment and suspicious activities, fell from 25 reports to six reports in 1997.Bountiful Police Chief Jim Rapp credited the decreases to a police department proactively stopping problems before they start, including having officers in both high schools and middle schools.

He also cited a weakening interest in gangs among youths. "The peer popularity of belonging to a gang has decreased substantially," Rapp said. "This is something we're very happy to see."

Other crimes have remained at about the same levels as last year, with minimal numbers for nearly every serious crime. The city had one homicide, four rapes, and three robberies.

One area where the city saw an increase was burglaries of homes. Rapp said that was probably because police have cracked down on larcenies in public places (such as bikes or construction equipment), and local businesses have improved security. Both of these areas saw a reduction in reported crimes, but apparently the thieves moved to less-secure private homes.

The city saw a reduction in drunken-driving arrests as well, although Rapp said those would most likely increase this year because the lowered arrest total meant lower state funding.