Columbus crime rate lowest in more than a decade

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – The crime rate has been the lowest in Columbus in over a decade, according to the city of Columbus.

In 2016, Columbus reported 10,571 crimes part-one crimes down 15 percent, or 1,821 crimes, from 2015.

The overall crime rate is at its lowest level in over 10 years and shows a 33 percent decrease in part-one crimes since its height in 2009 when the city reported 15,606 part-one crimes.

Though Columbus saw an increase in the number of murders in 2016 from 2015, going from 17 murders to 23 murders, the 2016 violent crime rate, which also includes rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults fell by eight percent.

"A reduction in crime rate does not mean there is no crime in Columbus, or that there is not serious crime in Columbus, said Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. "What it does mean is that we are making significant strides to reduce crime overall and that those reductions are being sustained over the long-term."

"We are particularly encouraged to see decreases in property crimes and in violent crimes. That being said, we still have a great deal of work ahead of use," said Tomlinson.

"Crime statistics fluctuate from year to year, but we are seeing sustained decreases over time," Police Chief Rick Boren said. "It is a daily battle for our officers on the street, our investigators, our criminal intelligence unit, and our neighborhood associations that continue to be a critical part of the steady progress we have made."

However, some residents in the Valley say more needs to be done.

"Overall it's not so bad," said Mickey Butler. "I grew up in Chicago. So, it's a little better than Chicago."

The general consensus when walking through the streets of Columbus is that it's a safe community.

"There are certain areas that I am wary of, but for the most part, it's pretty good," said Diamond Pettaway.

"We used to have on the regular basis 15,000 crimes per year, now Columbus is more in the 10,000 bracket," said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

Those numbers are a positive assurance to city officials, but not everyone in the community says they are at ease.

"I don't feel safe at all, not at all," said Jed Dolan.

However, Mayor Tomlinson says these numbers only tell half of the story.

"These statistics in no way shape or form suggest that there is no crime in Columbus, they don't suggest there isn't serious crime in Columbus, it just helps us measure how many crimes are in a particular category each year," Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson says even though some of the numbers may be small, it is still a step forward for the city of Columbus.

"I think that it's a perception that crime is rising, when nationwide, crime has been trending downward for some time, and we see that reflection here," Tomlinson said.

Click here to view the crime statistics.

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved.