COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - COVID-19 stops many things, but based on the numbers, it doesn’t appear to be limiting crime.
News Leader 9 is giving a breakdown of where Columbus stands this year as compared to 2019, which was a non-pandemic year.
According to police, violent crimes are up this year compared to last year. It’s very important to note that most of the investigations prove many of the violent crimes are related, and don’t pose as much of a risk to the general public as you might think.
Here are the numbers for crimes in Columbus from the past two years: nearly 300 aggravated assaults in the first eight months of 2020 and 404 overall in 2019, 47 rapes reported as of the end of last week compared to 59 total last year, and more than 3,600 counts of larceny -- theft of personal property.
“You don’t realize until you get in that jailhouse, now you see that was stupid,” Kathy Scott-Lykes said.
But there’s more to the statistics than what meets the eye. For example, if you look at the number of Columbus murders in 2020 and see nearly 30, you might be alarmed for your safety in public. However, police said you’re safer than you think.
“Based on our investigations, they have led us to believe that these individuals are familiar with each other, and so one incident will unfortunately lead to another incident,” said Maj. Freddie Blackmon, who’s with the Columbus Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards.
Compared to 2019, there are more homicides for this year than last. Taking a deeper look over the past few years, there were 26 total in 2016, 43 in 2017, 34 in 2018, and a spike to 41 in 2019. So far in 2020, there have been 28 homicides,which is ahead of the 24 the city saw by this time last year.
Marcia Denson’s son, Brandon, is counted in the 2018 number.
“We’ve just got to stop all this violence and start loving each other and uplifting each other, being there for each other as opposed to killing each other. It just doesn’t make any sense to me at all,” Denson said.
Blackmon said knowing many of the violent crimes are related or have connections to others highlights the importance of telling police what you know about any crime to help them get the bad guys off the streets as soon as possible.
Blackmon said overall, the numbers are trending downward. The four categories with an increasing trend are murders, aggravated assaults, rape, and larceny.