Archived Story

City crime rates drop

Published 11:14am Thursday, May 9, 2013

Crime dropped 30 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the latest statistics from the Alexander City Police Department.

Index crimes are composed of rape, murder, robbery, assaults, auto thefts, theft, burglary, kidnapping and arson. Statistics show the number of index crimes dropped from 435 in 2011 to 306 for 2012.

ACPD Chief Charles Rafford said a combination of several factors led to the drop.

“First and foremost, the patrol division did a great job doing proactive patrols and policing,” Rafford said. “Then, you need to couple that with the outstanding job of our crime interdiction task force, narcotics task force and detective division. Everyone worked together and embraced the idea of intelligence led policing. They met regularly to discuss crime, crime trends suspects and share information.”

Property crimes decreased 31 percent. Rafford said a new law helped keep a number of these crimes down.

“The state passed a metal theft bill which virtually eliminated our burglaries and thefts of metal because thieves no longer had anywhere to dispose of it,” Rafford said.

Thefts decreased from 142 to 112 – a 19 percent decrease between 2011 and 2012. Burglaries dropped by 38 percent from 216 incidents in 2011 to 134 in 2012.

Automobile thefts reported decreased dramatically during this period as well, plunging 56 percent from 16 to 7.

As for violent crimes such as rape and murder, rape decreased 67 percent, with 18 reported in 2011 and six reported in 2012. There were four murders in 2012, up from 0 in 2011.

“It is very difficult for police departments to affect the incident rate of rape and homicides,” Rafford said.

The clearance rate for these crimes, Rafford said, is what the department does have control over. Detectives cleared and secured arrests for five out of the six rapes reported. As for the four murders, detectives cleared all of the cases, leading to arrests in three out of the four cases, as one case was a murder/suicide and the suspect was not arrested.

Robberies increased from 14 to 25 from 2011 to 2012 and felony assaults decreased from 25 to 12, seven of which were domestic violence incidents.

There were no kidnappings in 2012. Three arson cases were reported in both 2011 and 2012, for a net change of 0.

The detective division opened a total of 433 cases in 2012 and closed 242, which led to 256 adult arrests and 13 juvenile arrests. The clearance rate for all index crimes was 64 percent for 2012.

“We are a small city, but we have the same types of crimes you will see in any city large or small – just on a vastly smaller scale,” Rafford said. “However, you won’t see these high clearance rates in large cities.”