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Wolfeboro tied with Conway for jail population numbers as of September

October 08, 2009
OSSIPEE — Between 2004 and 2008, most of the local people incarcerated in the county's jail were from Ossipee and Conway, but as of September, Wolfeboro has overtaken Ossipee and was tied with Conway for having the most incarcerated residents.

House of Corrections Superintendent Jason Johnson reported the statistic during a recent County Commission meeting. Johnson elaborated during a follow up interview.

As of Sept. 1, Wolfeboro and Conway both had 73 residents incarcerated and Ossipee had 65, said Johnson.

The statistic is somewhat surprising because Ossipee has had the most residents incarcerated every year for the last five years and Wolfeboro has trailed Ossipee and Conway during the same period.

"The reason Wolfeboro is having more people to jail is the town's population density is increasing," said Wolfeboro Police Lt. Dean Rondeau.

The 2000 census estimated the town's population to be 6,300, but Rondeau believes the population is substantially higher today. Rondeau said a few years ago he heard a statistic that the local schools' student population has grown about five percent on average.

The numbers of arrests in Wolfeboro have been tracking upwards for the past three years, according to statistics Rondeau provided. The statistics show the following: 2006 had 344 arrests, 2007 had 434 arrests, 2008 had 400 arrests, and in 2009 between Jan. 1 and Sept. 23 there were 343 arrests. The arrest figures don't count felony level indictments because they are served by the sheriff's office, said Rondeau.

Projecting to the end of the year, Rondeau estimates Wolfeboro Police will make another 114 arrests based on the average per month.

In Wolfeboro, arrests for driving while intoxicated and drugs seem to be increasing. "Substance abuse is on the rise," said Rondeau.

In 2007 there were 55 drug arrests. In 2008 there were 40 drug arrests, and from Jan. 1 to Sept. 23 there have already been 62.

There were 33 DWI arrests in 2008. From Jan. 1 2009 to Sept. 23, there were 35.

Theft and assault arrests numbers are on track to be similar to last year's totals. In 2008, police arrested 19 people for theft and 37 for assault. As of Sept. 23, there were 15 people arrested for theft and 30 arrested for assault.

In the last three years, juvenile crime has been on the decrease, said Rondeau. The median age of an arrestee is about 30, he said. Rondeau praised several community organizations that have been providing activities for youth.

"We have a lot of people that are very involved in the community," said Rondeau. "That's huge."

The jail statistics are as follows:

In 2004, there were 367 prisoners from outside the county; 156 from Ossipee; 121 from Conway and 114 from Wolfeboro.

In 2005, there were 356 prisoners from outside the county; 148 from Ossipee; 118 from Conway, and 82 from Wolfeboro.

In 2006, there were 318 prisoners from outside the county; 152 prisoners from Ossipee; 117 prisoners from Conway; and 90 from Wolfeboro.

Matin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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