Thefts up 26% in F’ville
Thefts are a growing problem in Fayetteville, bumping reports of major crimes in the city by 15 percent during 2011, according to Fayetteville Police Chief Steve Heaton.
Part I crimes are more serious and include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft. Part I crimes for 2011 totaled 519, a 15 percent increase from 2010.
“The major reason for the increase in the number of Part I crimes from 2010 to 2011 were in larcenies,” Heaton said at the March 15 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council in the department’s annual report. “The incidents of larceny increased by 91, or 26 percent, from 2010 to 2011.”
The presentation provided a snapshot of the department’s activities that included areas such as accreditation, crime statistics, K-9 Unit activities and a host of community initiatives.
Heaton in the presentation noted that the department had been state certified since 1998 by the Ga. Association of Chiefs of Police and internationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) since 2002. The department is one of 38 agencies in Georgia and 595 agencies nationwide that are internationally accredited, Heaton told the council.
Crime is something that is always on the minds of both police and the community. The annual report noted the number of Part I and Part II crimes that occurred during 2011.
Part II crimes include those such as forgery, fraud, embezzlement, vandalism and buying, selling or receiving stolen property. The department reported 504 Part II crimes during 2011, a decrease of the 555 that occurred in 2010.
Part II crimes during 2011 were at the lowest level since 1994 when 502 such crimes were reported. The high came in 1998 with 864 Part II crimes followed by 755 crimes in 1999 and 744 in 2003. In total, Part II crimes decreased 9 percent from 2010.
Detectives in the Criminal Investigations Division worked 790 cases in 2011 that included a mixture of Part I and Part II crimes and violations of city ordinances, Heaton said.
Heaton said the department’s K-9 Unit made approximately 2,155 citizen contacts during 2011 at various community events and projects. The unit was responsible for the apprehension of 21 suspects and was responsible for an additional 51 misdemeanor and eight felony drug arrests. The arrests during 2011 yielded several firearms, 238 grams of marijuana, 10 grams of cocaine, 264 grams of synthetic drugs and $37,000 in drug money.
Another aspect of the police department’s community outreach is the Fayetteville Police Explorers for young adults. The program saw 10 participants during 2011 and included training in areas such as search and arrest procedures, report writing, crime scene processing and firearms nomenclature and safety.
Last year also marked the 8th Annual Junior Police Academy, Heaton said. The 24 recruits went through the academy and received instruction in topic areas such as DUI laws, pull-overs, defensive tactics, crime scene processing and K-9 procedures.
Also in 2011, the department hosted its 8th annual Christmas with the Police where employees spent the day with seven families and 17 children.
“Christmas gifts were provided to each child. Steve B’s Pizza fed all the families and Dixieland opened the park for everyone to enjoy park rides for free,” Heaton said.
In all, the department during 2011 participated in 239 community projects. A sampling of those included self-defense classes, child safety courses, children’s choices and self-awareness classes, Neighborhood Watch programs and fraud seminars. Officers also taught classes to school children, Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups, churches, businesses and neighborhoods, said Heaton.
Also in 2011, Officer Keith Jojola was selected “Officer of the Year” and Lt. Debbie Chambers was selected “Employee of the Year.” Additionally said Heaton, 12 officers were awarded the Meritorious Conduct Award, Officer Zach Mittenzwei was awarded the “Life Saving Award” for his work on a medical call and 41 officers received the chief’s “Challenge Coin.”