Albany crime rising - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany crime rising

Albany- Albany business owners like Kate Whiting are dealing with higher property crime numbers.

"Mainly the problem is empty hangers," said Whiting.

Empty hangers could mean stolen merchandise from her downtown store, but Kate's trying to stay a step ahead by learning some of the thieves tricks.

"They like to carry like two items and maybe put an item in-between the item, so it looks like they're only taking two items back there, but when you take the clothes back there for them you know what they've got," said Whiting.

After several thefts last year, the owners bought a new security system before the Christmas rush.

"Its actually helped me catch two people myself, so it does help. It is a little costly, but in the long run it's totally worth it," said Whiting.

Why then is Albany's crime rate increasing?

"People engage in theft, forgery, burglaries, and other property crimes in order to get money to buy the habit," said Ken Hodges, District Attorney.

Hodges says an increase in drug activity is causing other crimes to increase.

"A lot of the violent crime is directly relate to it as well. We have rape and robberies and other things that are a direct result of this addiction to narcotics."

To help fight those crimes, the jail has a program to deal with intoxicated offenders and the D-A's office is considering a drug court. Until then, business owners are keeping a watchful eye.

"You know you might not see all three of us out on the floor, but there's usually two or three of us, there might be somebody back there watching the cameras," said Whiting.

Here's a closer look at some of the major crimes that increased in 2004.

Domestic violence is up 62 percent.

Rape up 42 percent over the previous year.

Burglary jumped 23 percent and aggravated assault increased by five percent.

Here are some crime numbers that got better.

Homicide dropped nearly 17 percent.

Robbery is down 16 and a half percent.

Arson decreased ten and a half percent with auto theft dropping 12 percent.

For a look at more statistics, you can check the police department report at their web site. www.albany.ga.us/apd2/apd_archived_monthly_statistics.htm#2004

posted by jennifer.emert@walb.com

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