Crimes down over 4 years in Columbus

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - A new report shows that the number of crimes, especially some violent crimes, in Columbus have decreased across the board.

"We can say we live in a city that is a safer city today.  We live in a safer city because of our law enforcement officers and because these citizens believed in us and our ability to be able to fight crime better if we invested in it," said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

The FBI recently released the study that shows crimes like murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault have decreased in Columbus over the past four years.

For example, in 2008 there were 30 murders in our area, and in 2011, that number dropped by more than 50 percent to 14.

Also, in 2008, there were 70 rapes in Columbus.  In 2011, there were 34 also down about 50 percent.

"Without the community involvement, crime is not going to decrease.  We've got to have people in the community pick up the phone calling 911, learning who their police officers are, who their Sheriff's deputies, and Marshal's office--who those guys are in the field every day and becoming friends with them," said Seth Brown, Director of the Office of Crime Prevention.

Brown says neighborhood awareness as well as an increase in law enforcement officials has helped decrease those numbers.

However, Tomlinson says she plans to cut those numbers even more by proposing a new system for all law enforcement that will instantly input crimes into a database while officers are still on the streets.

"An officer may well see the suspect, but has no idea a crime has just occurred 45 minutes or an hour earlier, and with our current record keeping system, until that data is brought in to the police department headquarters and input into the systems, officers can't see the correlation between events," said Tomlinson.

She says there are some areas that needs improvement.  Since 2010, car thefts in Columbus are up by 4 percent.

"We have to buckle down and come up with some new ways to crack down," said the Mayor.

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