ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany Police report that crime has increased 16% this year over the same period last year. Chief James Younger says violent crime is especially troubling.
Aggravated assault has skyrocketed, mostly among family members and acquaintances. The Police Chief says they are searching for ways to try to stop the crime increase, but some say more needs to be done.
Mark Murphy confronted a man rifling through his car under the carport of his house on Flamingo Lane July 16th. The thief pulled a knife and threatened Murphy before running off, making Murphy was one of 460 aggravated assault victims so far this year in Albany.
"We need additional help. We need as much help as we can get. Albany deserves better," Murphy said.
From January through July 2007 there were 168 aggravated assaults. In the same seven month period in 2008 there have been 460 reported cases. Murders, robberies, and burglaries have all increased since last year.
Chief James Younger says his Police Department is working to solve the crime problem, with more cops are on the street.
"We were finally able to get 98% of all of our officers trained. So that now we have 98% of the department's staff actually trained and actually deployed," Younger said.
They are trying new tactics to spot criminals.
"Rooftop surveillance for entering auto cases and auto theft cases, and that been a successful strategy. We've used stakeouts along Pine Avenue for burglaries, and that's been a successful strategy," Younger said.
In East Albany Officers report good results from getting out of patrol cars, walking and talking to residents. But Younger says they need everyone's help to lower crime.
"I think it's going to take a collabrative effort between all the law enforcement agencies as well as all the citizens to make this a safer community.
Mark Murphy says crime has people in his neighborhood frightened, and he is calling on city and county officials for help. "There is no excuse for not having a better Police Department. Bottom line."
Murphy was critical of the Police and the way they handled his crime report, and Murphy said he heard criticism from city officials and even chamber officials directed toward him.
But he said he will continue to demand that more be done to fight crime in his hometown.