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.