PEPPERELL -- The number of violent crimes in Pepperell decreased from 25 in 2011 to 18 in 2012, according to new data released by the FBI.

In 2010, violent crime was even higher, at 36 offenses, but lower in 2009 with 17.

More specific types of crime, such as aggravated assault, property crime and larceny all decreased from 2011 to 2012.

Burglary was the only category to post a major increase, from 35 offenses in 2011 to 50 in 2012.

There were no murders or arsons in 2012, one case of reported rape, and six cases of motor-vehicle theft.

Pepperell Police Chief David Scott said that it is difficult to identify any trends without looking at years of data.

Because the total number of offenses in town are so small, he said, small changes can lead to relatively large jumps.

"I realize that some categories have gone up or down, but I don't necessarily see a significant change either way. If you take burglary, for example, it went from 35 in 2011 to 50 last year. In a small town like Pepperell where the total crime numbers are small, a jump of 15 burglaries could be caused by someone local being released from jail or a couple of out-of-town criminals passing through and burglarizing several homes in a few days," Scott said.

Scott said it is difficult to compare Pepperell to neighboring towns, as Townsend, Dunstable and Hollis, N.H. all failed to submit crime data to the FBI this year.

However, by looking at data from other nearby towns of comparable size, Scott said crime data is relatively consistent in the region.

"Pepperell is slightly higher in many categories than the average of these towns as far as crime data, and slightly lower than the average in number of police officers," he said.

Although he said that he does consider Pepperell a safe community, he advises residents to continue to be alert and cautious.

"Pepperell and the area towns are all relatively safe places to live, but every city and town has crime," Scott said.

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