Columbus Police: Crime down in 2010

Murder Victim Diane Norman
Murder Victim Diane Norman
Murder Suspect Willie Jones
Murder Suspect Willie Jones

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  New numbers released by the Columbus Police Department show that crime overall is down for 2010.

Officials are reporting 13,331 crimes in November of 2010, down from 14,470 in November of 2009. These results are the latest numbers released for the year to date.

Violent crimes have also decreased, according to the department's statistics.

There were 40 rapes reported by November of 2009 and 33 in November of 2010.

When it comes to aggravated assaults, there were 474 in November of 2009 and 447 reported by November of 2010.

As for robberies, there were 437 reported in November 2010 for the year, down from 533 in 2009.

The number of burglaries is down 315 from 2009 and auto thefts have dropped- 929 for 2010 down from 1422 for 2009.

When it comes to murder, the number for 2010 is about the same as last year. There are 15 murders for 2010 to date, the most recent being a murder/suicide on Greenbriar Drive involving a husband and wife. In 2009, there were 12 murders and that was a huge drop from the 30 in 2008.

This year, 17 people have been arrested and charged with murder, ranging in age from 15-50 years old. Ages of the victims range from 17-51 years old.

Out of the 15 cases for 2010, three remain open and are still being investigated by police.

On May 7, 51-year-old Ervin Givens Jr. was found dead in the 2700 block of North Lumpkin Road. Police say Givens was shot in the chest. Police have not released a motive but neighbors say that area is overrun with drugs and violence.

Then on July 31, 49-year-old Diane Norman was found with a gunshot wound to her back near the corner of 25th Avenue and Garden Drive.

WTVM spoke with her daughter who says she's been told by police that a witness in the area heard a gunshot at the time, looked out and saw her mother fall to the ground and saw a black SUV pull away. Norman's family wants answers and most of all, justice.

"It really hasn't been easy for my family because we have no closure. She didn't deserve to be killed like that. She was shot from behind in the back. For me, that's a cowardly way to take somebody's life. I don't want my mother's case to become a cold case that sits on the shelf for years. Somebody has to know something. Somebody had to see more. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her not being here. This is the first Christmas I've ever had without her," her daughter told News Leader 9.

The third open murder case is that of 33-year-old Brian Brown. Brown was shot in the head and killed in his apartment at the Johnston Mill Lofts downtown on September 3rd.

Columbus investigators say he had an altercation with two men in a breezeway at the complex, went inside, shut the door and was standing against it when the suspects started shooting on the other side. One of the bullets came through the door and hit Brown in the head.

Brown's murder was the first in a string of murders that happened over Labor Day weekend when four people were killed in five days across the city. Investigators say they have "persons of interest" in the case but so far, no arrests have been made.

As Columbus Police continue to work the unsolved murder cases of the year, they're also searching for Willie Theotis Jones. He's wanted in connection with a killing at a Decatur Court apartment complex in Columbus. Wayman Glenn James Jr., a veteran, was shot in the head and killed during what police say was a set-up. Jones is considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information on these cases is asked to call Columbus investigators at 706-653-3400.

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