Albany Aggravated assaults up 200% - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Aggravated assaults up 200%

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May 20, 2008

Albany - Aggravated assaults are up more than 200% over last year in Albany. The Albany Police Chief says most of those cases are between family members or acquaintances. Now, an ASU professor is trying to pinpoint what's behind the increase in violent crime.

In April 2007, the Albany Police Department worked 20 aggravated assault cases, a crime which can vary from someone pointing a weapon at another to actually shooting them. In April of this year, that number more than tripled to 65.

"We've got to have some type of program over here because most of the time it's innocent individuals being hurt," said City Commissioner Jon Howard. Chief James Younger says he's especially worried since most of the aggravated assaults happen between relatives and acquaintances. "It is very difficult to identify when such a situation is going to occur," he said.

Commissioner Jon Howard says he thinks the increase in crime could be related to the downturn in the economy. He said, "Economics plays a vital role into aggravated assault because individuals sometimes get frustrated, agitated, confused and depressed because they can't make ends meet and a lack of education, jobs and community involvement that stimulates a lot of these things."

But Chief Younger wants to know exactly what's driving the violence and has asked Dr. George Thomas, an Albany State Professor to analyze the cases in order to pinpoint the cause. "We are looking at trying to find out if there are any sorts of links," he said. "Whether it could be drug related, whether it involved youth of a certain age. Any factors that we might identify whereby law enforcement can intervene." Before the crime takes place and someone else gets hurt.

Chief Younger says aggravated assaults aren't only up in Albany. Violent crimes are up all over the country.

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