COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon joined News 3 in the studio on Thursday to address a number of topics including gun safety, recruitment efforts, and crime trends here in Columbus.

Muscogee County’s homicide count for 2022 is about half of what it was at this point in 2021. Chief Blackmon says although that number is trending downward, aggravated assaults are up.

The Chief shared with us some insights on crime trends in the Fountain City.

“Crime overall is trending down and it has been trending down for a few years. But there are certain crimes that have been trending upward. And so we’ve had some aggravated assault type cases that have trend have trends that are going upwards. But we’re fortunate that our murder cases are trending down. This time last year, we will double the number almost double the number of murders at this same point last year,” said Blackmon.

Some residents fear Georgia’s newly-passed Constitutional Carry Act, allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit, will lead to more guns on the streets of Columbus. Chief Blackmon says that’s no excuse for residents to ignore gun laws.

“As far as the gun laws are concerned, individuals should be always mindful to ensure that they follow the laws as it relates to handling firearms. We want individuals to be safe and ensure that they don’t use firearms in order to resolve the conflict. We want individuals to be able to peacefully and resolve conflicts through their communication,” said Blackmon

Blackmon also says the department is actively hiring as they work to fill vacant positions.