Rates for major crimes, including rapes, fell in Ashland in 2009 even as many residents felt less safe because of a string of reported rapes during the winter.

Rates for major crimes, including rapes, fell in Ashland in 2009 even as many residents felt less safe because of a string of reported rapes during the winter.

The Ashland Police Department took 608 reports of major crimes in the city — covering murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft and larceny — in 2009. That's down from 764 reports of major crimes in 2008, according to an annual report Police Chief Terry Holderness delivered to the Ashland City Council last week.

"We have a very low violent crime rate," Holderness said.

After hitting about 800 reports of major crimes in 2005, crimes have been trending downward.

The police department is getting fewer calls from residents about both major and minor crimes. Minor crimes include fights, disorderly conduct and drug cases. Total calls dropped by about 200 from 2007 to 2008, and then by another 200 from 2008 to 2009 — falling below 1,200 calls last year.

There were seven reports of rapes in 2009, down from 10 reports in 2008.

— Ashland Daily Tidings