At the City Council meeting on Monday, residents can hear about the 10-year trends in a report Police Chief Bill Westenberger previewed Wednesday in a work session.
“The main thing I want to tout a little bit is that this year we had 518 Part 1 crimes,” he said about a category that includes murder, rape, assault and theft. “That’s huge, in that’s the lowest it’s been since 2001.”
Westenberger attributed the drop to a group effort.
“Everybody had a piece in that, not just the police department,” he said.
Westenberger said renting out vacant buildings and sprucing up formerly crime-ridden areas played a role.
“There’s things like economic development and stuff like zonings,” he said, “and the community itself paying attention and watching what’s happening.”
Show us your guns
The drop in crime may also be at least partly caused by city code Sec. 34-21.
“Every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm,” it reads.
Lt. Craig Graydon said the law has been a hot topic among international journalists, who have interviewed him recently for gun law stories.
“Since the gun law passed in 1982, we’ve consistently had one of the lowest crime rates in the metro Atlanta area,” he said.
Coincidence? You decide.
“I’m sure it’s had some impact. It’s just very difficult to say how much,” Graydon said. “If nothing else, it draws some attention to crime and crime prevention. That helps.”