ALBANY, Ga. — The head of the Dougherty County Police Department pointed to the latest batch of crime statistics Monday as proof that “Dougherty County is still a safe place to live.”
DCPD Chief Don Cheek told the Dougherty County Commission that officers with his department were dispatched to 24,389 calls in 2011, an increase of 3.9 percent from 2010.
Even with the increase, Cheek said that felony warrants in the unincorporated area of Dougherty County were down 60 percent from 2010 with misdemeanor warrants down 9.6 percent.
“I think that if you look at the numbers, Dougherty County is a safe place to live,” Cheek said.
When using percentages, the numbers can look a bit skewed because the unincorporated county has so many fewer incidents by comparison from year-to-year.
When it comes to murders, for instance, the statistics state that homicides dropped by 100 percent from 2010 to 2011. But the raw data show that in 2010 there was one homicide, and in 2011 there were none.
Robberies were up by 75 percent, but the raw data show that there were four robberies in 2010 and seven in 2011.
By the numbers, violent crimes such as murder, robbery, forcible rape and aggravated assault were down 46.9 percent in the unincorporated area. Property crimes, however, were up 3.4 percent, inflated largely by an increase in larcenies.
Cheek points to the crime rate, a formula that he says allows the public to compare the unincorporated area of Dougherty County to other jurisdictions both at the state and federal level. To determine the rate, he divides the incident by occurrence per 100,000 people.
Based on Cheek’s numbers, the property crime rate for unincorporated Dougherty County is 15.7 percent lower than the national rate and 31.9 percent lower than the state rate.
The violent crime rate is 75.4 percent lower than the national rate and 75.4 percent lower than the state rate.
The biggest blemish on the report is the department’s response times.
According to Cheek, response times have increased 25 percent, or by 2 minutes and 15 seconds, from 2010, based largely on the reduced number of officers that he says his office is utilizing.
“We’re all stretched pretty thin,” Cheek said. “When you have fewer officers out on the street, it takes longer for them to get from one part of the county to the other.”