Overall crime numbers down in Augusta this year

Sheriff's Office cites Burglary Task Force
Crime Scene Investigator Tom Johnson works along Dugas Street near the corner of 13th Street after a shooting.

 Aggravated assaults, robbery and rape cases for 2011 are at a five-year low in Richmond County.

Last year, aggravated assaults in Richmond County were at a 10-year high.

Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles said it’s never easy to pinpoint what actually causes a drop in crime; however, he can suggest several projects in the past year that have had an impact.

The Burglary Task Force, formed in February, has contributed to a decrease in burglaries in the county. In March, the sheriff announced the completion of a 19-month undercover sting called “Operation Fox Hunt” that put more than 70 people behind bars.

In his experience, economic factors and climate can have impacts on increases and decreases in crime, but there are too many variables to determine what the next year will bring.

In 2010, the sheriff’s office was dealing with the highest number of homicides the county had seen since the early 1990s.

With 21 homicides through October of this year, the total is 16 fewer than in all of 2010.

In general, crime is down for 2011. Child abuse, domestic violence and arson were the only categories with increases compared to the same time a year ago.

“When it comes to domestic violence, economy is always a factor,” Peebles said.

Studying the number of domestic violence incidents is often tricky, he said. Although it’s common to see more cases of abuse when the economy slows, the increase could also be the result of awareness persuading victims to report the crime, Peebles said.

BY THE NUMBERS

These numbers represent crimes through October:

CRIME20102011
Homicide3221
Rape8583
Aggravated assault233178
Robbery543398
Child abuse111120
Burglary3,0882,929
Theft by taking7,8097,078
Forgery888913
Auto theft1,4491,419
Domestic violence2,1932,518
Narcotics1,3411,237
Arson1829