Despite higher call volume and generating 2,000 more reports than the previous year, the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office has good news to report for 2009.
Recently released statistics show the crime rate fell in the agency’s jurisdiction during the past year.
The numbers are consistent with national crime figures compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the FBI, murders were down 10 percent, robberies by 6.5 percent and rapes by 3.3 percent in the first half of 2009. Overall, the FBI reported a 4.4 percent drop in violent crime as a whole through June 2009.
In Barrow County, the decrease is even more drastic.
In 2009, the Sheriff’s Office did not report any homicides. Two were reported in 2008.
The number of rapes reported in 2009 fell by 14 percent from the previous year, robberies fell by 70 percent and aggravated assaults declined by over 32 percent. The number of burglaries, thefts and motor vehicle thefts also decreased significantly. The only area in which the Sheriff’s Office reported an increase was in the number of simple assaults.
Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith attributes the drop in crime to a collective effort by the entire department.
“We try to saturate the higher crime areas,” he said. “We are trying to have more traffic guys out on the road and a little more visibility.”
Smith believes the increased visibility in high crime areas and on heavily trafficked corridors contributed to lower crime rates last year.
“There is no telling how many people we affected just by talking to them or stopping them for a few minutes,” he said.
Though 2009 statistics are not yet available for Barrow County as a whole, reports compiled by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations indicate crime rates have fluctuated within the county over the past few years. The GBI collects information from law enforcement agencies across the state to track instances of murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.
While pleased with the latest numbers, Smith admits there are some factors beyond the control of law enforcement.
“We just go out there and try to do the best we can,” he said.
I would like to know if these numbers are based on arrests or on convictions! Isn't it funny how The Barrow Journal writes a column on the crime that has gotten so bad around here. Now they are throwning these statistics out to us. The artical states that "despite the higher call volume and generating "2000" more calls than the previous year"!!!! This leads me to assume that the numbers are based off of actual convitions. If this is the case, I don't think these numbers are correct! I have seen & heard too many times, people comitting crimes and getting charges reduced or dropped due to lack of room in the, yes new jail already!!! Or just sometimes being able to wiggle their way out of it. (I won't go into how people seem to "wiggle" their way out of things in this county!). I truely feel there needs to be something done with our court system here in Barrow County! Our police officers (County & Cities) are out there risking their lives each & every day to try to make out community a safe and enjoyable place to live, just to get slapped in the face beacuse a judge did not hand out the sentances that fit the crimes being committed!! They are repeatedly arresting the same people for the same crimes. I feel out local judges have been in place entirely too long. They judges have built relationships with attorneys & too many people have not been sentanced what they
If these stats are based on the UCR (Uniform Crime Report) it is a reflection of the police reports. If you call and say your car was stolen and make a report then under UCR it is counted. It doesn't matter if someone was arrested or convicted with UCR. If the report was proven to be unfounded (say someone used your car and you forgot that you let them) then that wouldn't count on the UCR. UCR is a federal thing and is required by the state. I'm pretty sure that's where these numbers are coming from.