COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Homicides are down and burglaries are up by 16% compared to this time last year, according to the Columbus Police Department. But Major Jim Wetherington, a former police chief, says he thinks the spike in petit or petty thefts will began to decline.
"I think you're going to see a reduction in criminal activity along those lines once the officers get seasoned," said Wetherington.
Mayor Wetherington added, the new officers were hired through the Local Option Sales Tax and of the 100 he wants to hire, 97 are currently on the force. But due to training, approximately 60 are beating the streets.
"You have to learn the techniques. These young officers who by the way are doing a good job have got to know what the priority is on the midnight shift and that's patrolling the businesses and homes."
Captain Gordon Griswould agrees that it takes one to two years for a new officer to learn the ropes. In the meantime, he says they're beefing up patrols around the businesses.
Griswould explained, "The increase is due to the summertime. We normally see more burglaries when the kids are out of school in June and July. In August, it generally levels off."
The technique of beefing patrols may be working. A juvenile was caught at the Coin Laundry this morning trying to enter the building through the roof. A chase ensued, but he was caught minutes later.