Violent crimes decrease in area

Published 4:27 pm Friday, July 8, 2011

The Annual Crime in Alabama Report was released in June and showed that violent crime in 2010 decreased 10 percent from 2009 figures, with property crimes reporting a 5 percent decrease throughout the state.

The report lists violent and property crimes for the year of 2010, and is compiled by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.

Reported crimes in the City of Greenville and in Butler County fluctuated from 2009 figures, with some categories showing increases while others decreased.

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In Greenville, no homicides were reported in 2009 or 2010, and rapes decreased from four in 2009 to zero in 2010. Reported robberies increased slightly from five to seven and thefts were up 24 percent from 218 in 2009 to 270 in 2010. Assaults in Greenville increased from 49 in 2009 to 74 in 2010, with motor vehicle thefts also seeing a spike from eight to 18.

In Butler County, one homicide was reported in 2010, up from zero in 2009. Rapes stayed constant, with three in both 2009 and 2010. Assaults decreased from 34 in 2009 to 24 in 2010, burglaries followed suit decreasing from 94 to 22, with thefts also showing a slight decrease from 111 to 107.

Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden said that cutting down on drugs has helped cut down on crime in the county, as well as having his deputies out patrolling.

“We’ve been working the streets, with the deputies out patrolling and being seen,” Harden said.

Harden also said that good cooperation between the Sheriff’s Department and citizens has helped.

“I think we have restored a lot of the trust with people in the county,” Harden said. “They call and give us information, and this helps us do our job better.”

Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram said that while some people look to the economy to explain jumps in crimes reported, he doesn’t think that this is the case.

“I think that just because law abiding citizens don’t have a job, that doesn’t mean they are going to start stealing,” Ingram said. “I think a lot of factors contribute to it, and it’s difficult to pinpoint why crimes increase, or even why they decrease.”

One factor that contributes to crime increasing, Ingram said, has to do with the state prison system.

“We will send a guy to prison, and then they come right back into the community and go back to crime,” Ingram said. “Sometimes, we will even arrest them, they will get out on bond and won’t even make it to trial for their first offense before they commit another crime. It’s a revolving-door situation.”