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Report: More rapes, fewer robberies

Statesboro Police Department releases statistics that show three-year trends

Report: More rapes, fewer robberies

Report: More rapes, fewer robberies

Statistics released last week by the Statesboro Police Department show a decrease in some major crimes, while others rose since 2010.

According to the report, crimes such as homicide, rape or sexual assault, larceny and motor vehicle theft showed slight increases, while offenses including robbery, aggravated assault and burglary showed slight decreases in the last three years.

“In some individual categories we did experience an increase in 2013, but I feel with the newly created (Statesboro-Bulloch) Crime Suppression Unit this past January, we may see a marked decrease in (those) violent crimes across the board in 2014,” Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore said. “We are blessed with a well-trained and managed police department that is dedicated to the safety of our citizens. I think this report bears that out.”

Overall, the number of crimes including theft, simple assault, burglary, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, robbery, forcible rape, and homicide dropped from 2,133 cases in 2010 to 2,120 cases in 2013, according to the report.

The report stated there was only one homicide in 2011, while there were two in 2012 and two in 2013.

Rapes reported in 2011 were six, and the number more than doubled to 16 reported rape cases in 2012. The number dropped to 11 in 2013.

In 2011, the number of reported robberies was 58, dropping to 48 in 2012 and 49 in 2013.

The annual report approved by Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner details crime statistics as well as information about newly formed divisions within the department, as well as the Statesboro-Bulloch County Crime Suppression Team – in partnership with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office – geared toward deterring violent crimes. It also details the new public relations department, which connects police information with citizens.

“The recently issued 2013 Statesboro Police Annual Report is indicative of the thoroughness and dedication of our police department,” Moore said. “I am encouraged that (some) violent crimes overall decreased slightly last year.”

While the department has always generated an annual report, this year the report is more “user friendly” to citizens and more accessible, said Statesboro police Cpl. Justin Samples, the head of the public relations division.

”We've always had an annual report that was available to the public but it wasn't very user friendly,” he said. The reports were “basically just a bunch of numbers and statistics that only officers cared about. “

As part of an effort to become more interactive with the public, the department made the changes.

“This time we decided to make it more of a presentation to the community in a narrative format with charts and graphs highlighting what we felt the citizens would find interesting and helpful,” Samples said. “We want the citizens to know who we are and what we are doing to keep them safe.”

The Statesboro Police Department, headed by Maj. Scott Brunson, consists of 66 sworn officers and 14 civilian employees.

A division formed within recent years has shown success, and has grown such that it merged with other agencies to form the Statesboro-Bulloch County Crime Suppression Team.

According to the report, the Crime Suppression Unit joined the Bulloch County Drug Suppression Team, which was part of the sheriff’s office. Four CSU officers are detached to the Crime Suppression Team full time.

Investigators are now using several online tools to help solve crimes. They began using the “Leads Online Investigation System” to recover stolen property and solve crimes. This program has helped detectives recover more than 30 pieces of stolen property and make numerous arrests involving theft cases. Crime Suppression investigators follow up on assigned cases and initiate cases from contacts in the community. Officers are often called upon for speaking engagements related to drug and gang prevention.

The public relations division, headed by Samples, helps citizens play a part in crime prevention, learn about policing and keep up with crime in their neighborhoods.

A major part of this division is the Citizens Police Academy – an 11-week community program, which is available to citizens of Statesboro and the surrounding area. The class meets weekly for two hours, and citizens learn from patrol officers, detectives and administration about patrol, investigations, emergency response, K-9, and many more aspects of policing. The citizens also get hands-on experience in several practical exercises that put them in the role of the police officer.

Samples is also in charge of new programs geared towards community-oriented policing. The S.T.O.P. program (Solicitor.Teen.Officer.Parent) is a teen safe driving program that helps keep parents informed when their child is involved in a traffic stop regardless of whether it involves a citation or warning. The program, implemented in 2013, means an officer stopping any vehicle with the S.T.O.P. decal with a driver under 21 will contact parents to advise them of the details of the stop.

The Statesboro Police Department’s SHIELD program is a business watch program being implemented in 2014. Businesses participating in the program will have a SHIELD decal near their entrance meaning the Statesboro Police Department has conducted an on-site security assessment and has current and accurate contact information for the main key-holders of the business.

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