LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – The LaGrange Police Department has seen significant decreases in various areas like property crime and violent crime since last year.
Robert Kirby, the Lieutenant of Patrol at the LaGrange Police Department, said the department is down in property crimes by 37% as opposed to 2021. Violent crimes have also decreased since last year and the numbers are down 12% year-to-date.
“I think we’re seeing the numbers fall off because people are seeing us. We’re more engaged than we used to be and what is going on in the community I think, so it’s not all about going out and writing tickets and arresting people,” said Lt. Kirby.
Property crimes include burglaries, entering autos and auto thefts where the victim is not hurt however, their property is taken from them. Violent crimes include aggravated assaults, rapes, murders and robberies where a victim is hurt as a result.
Although violent crimes as a whole have decreased since last year the department has had a few crimes break even with the numbers from last year. The number of homicides, rapes and aggravated assaults have all broken even this year compared to last year’s numbers.
Lt. Kirby said the department has been using several initiatives to bring the number of crimes down in the area.
One initiative is the use of “Gotcha Tickets”, the tickets are used as warnings from police in areas that have a lot of property crime, specifically entering autos. Officers surveil the area and will leave the tickets on the cars that have personal items like computers or phones in plain sight or have doors open. There are no repercussions to the tickets and are simply used as a warning.
Another initiative LaGrange PD officers are using is analyzing the areas in the city that have frequent crime and increasing surveillance there. The areas are evaluated by several categories like the number of complaints coming in, high number of traffic issues or lots of debris. Once officers recognize a problem they can use any resources to improve it like organizing a monthly little cleanup. Officers must then document the activities they have done and supervising officers evaluate the improvements.
“We found this to be pretty effective so far, we have really cranked it up so to speak in the past month or so and I think we’re already seeing some results from it. I think some of these lower numbers may indicate that it’s being effective,” said Lt. Kirby.