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Fewer assaults, burglaries reported in Richmond County this year

Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 5:33 PM
Last updated Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012 1:43 AM
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The number of reports of aggravated assault, rape, burglary and narcotics dropped for the second year in a row in Richmond County.

Deputy Christopher Rosier searched through stolen property in March that was recovered during a seven month undercover operation known as Smoke Screen.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
Deputy Christopher Rosier searched through stolen property in March that was recovered during a seven month undercover operation known as Smoke Screen.

In 2010, aggravated assaults were at a 10-year high. The next year the number reported fell to the lowest mark the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office had seen in five years. The drop continued this year.

Police said it’s always a good sign to see crime numbers fall, but finding the reasons for their decline is often not easy. The economy, large arrests, new procedures and projects, and weather all have the potential to drive numbers down, authorities say.

Burglaries, however, are one of the categories where investigators pinpoint a reason for the drop: the Burglary Task Force and undercover operations.

Since the task force started in February 2011, the number of reported burglaries has decreased, said Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Jimmy Young.

“Having the suppression team has definitely helped because it gives us folks that can work on problem areas,” Young said.

Large undercover operations have also helped take criminals off the streets, authorities say.

In March 2011, Operation Fox Hunt ended with more than 70 people behind bars. During the 19-month investigation, undercover officers worked out of an urban clothing store at Deans Bridge and Lumpkin roads where they purchased drugs and guns.

In February, another operation, Smoke Screen, ended and eventually led to more than 100 arrests. During the seven-month investigation, undercover officers took over a pawnshop on Peach Orchard Road and bought stolen guns, electronics, lawn equipment and ATVs.

In 2010, investigators saw an average of 322 burglaries a month. So far in 2012, that has dropped to 264 a month, according to crime statistics from the sheriff’s office.

Sgt. Allan Rollins said the drop in narcotics incidents over the past two years does not tell the whole story.

Over the past several years, Rollins said, the narcotics division has focused on larger dealers, which affects the number of incidents.

“It does hurt our overall statistics, but when we get the bigger dealers it does the community more benefit,” he said. “You can’t go by raw numbers.”

Investigations that target large dealers can take months and many officers, which takes more officers off the streets.

“The whole time we do not give up on citizen complaints or the drug tip hotline,” Rollins said. “We still work it but we can’t put the kind of dedication to it.”

In July 2011, an investigation ended with the arrest of Dorsett Williams, who authorities say was a big-time dealer on Camille Street. Investigators had been watching him for nearly three months. Investigators seized kilos of cocaine, pounds of marijuana, cars, guns and more than $100,000.

The drug deals going on in the neighborhood were also prompting other crimes, such as aggravated assaults and robberies, authorities said. After the arrest, the area instantly saw a difference.

“The quality of the case was so good that it really cleaned up the neighborhood more than us coming in and doing a ‘dine and dash’ by grabbing them and running,” Rollins said. “It had a huge impact on the drugs in that neighborhood more than if we had done 30 cases.”

Most categories have stayed consistent since 2010, with the exception of homicides and robberies, which both fell in 2011 but saw increases this year.

BY THE NUMBERS

Number of incidents reported to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office through October of each year:

 201020112012
Homicide322125
Rape858373
Aggravated assault233178159
Robbery543389425
Child abuse111120119
Burglary3,0882,9292,639
Domestic violence2,1932,5182,227
Narcotics1,3411,2371,198

Source: Richmond County Sheriff’s Office

Comments (10) Add comment
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OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/09/12 - 10:45 am
3
0
1 question and 1 comment.

Some time back in late 2010 or early 2011,
RCSO changed what was a Burglary and how they were counted.

Question
Are these numbers adjusted to reflect this change cross the board or just stated as lower numbers in the 2010-11 years?

Comment:
You can always tell when the economy is doing bad,
just look at the Property Crimes #'s.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 12/09/12 - 01:31 pm
3
0
I've had tools & construction

I've had tools & construction material "walk away" in 3 seperate incidents this year and didnt bother calling it in.

Conservative Man
5564
Points
Conservative Man 12/09/12 - 01:37 pm
3
0
Interesting wording....

....of the article......While agreeing that if crime is down, that's a good thing.

But you do notice the article says the "reports" of crime, not necessarily crime itself.....

Parsing of words I know, but still relevant..

just an opinion
2623
Points
just an opinion 12/09/12 - 02:46 pm
3
1
No more large undercover operations!

Per Sheriff elect Roundtree. Don't take my word for it. ASK HIM.

itsanotherday1
42867
Points
itsanotherday1 12/09/12 - 03:23 pm
4
1
"No more large undercover

"No more large undercover operations!"

Really? Why is that? Afraid he will put too many supporters in jail? How the heck does he propose to get bad guys off the street; talk them out of it?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/09/12 - 03:53 pm
3
1
itsanotherday1

From what I've heard, the undercover operations put too many young black men in jail, and slapping felonies on the records of felons is extremely unfair to them.

itsanotherday1
42867
Points
itsanotherday1 12/09/12 - 04:34 pm
3
1
Ahhh..... Patty

That just sounds bizarre. So he is in effect saying: I won't lock you up for criminal activity unless you aren't black. Sounds like open season on law abiding citizens in Richmond County.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/09/12 - 07:54 pm
1
0
It is bizarre. Would love to

It is bizarre. Would love to see how that will work itself out though.

itsanotherday1
42867
Points
itsanotherday1 12/10/12 - 01:14 am
1
0
Me too...

Always open for new ideas. The next term will tell.

Riverman1
83513
Points
Riverman1 12/10/12 - 09:37 am
2
1
Guns Prevent Crime

I heard an interesting comment last night. Surveys have been taken of gun owners about their having guns stopping or deterring a crime. Many times the gun wasn't even fired, but it's presence simply made visible. I believe most of those left in Richmond County are armed and that factor contributes to the decrease in crime...if that statistic is actually true.

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