Special Report: Patrol officers target crime - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Patrol officers target crime

By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - More than 130 burglaries have occurred in Albany since January 1, 2011. The up-tick in crime has pushed Albany Police to step up patrols in all districts.

A typical day for patrol units may start with exercise. Next, muster meetings. They discuss issues of concern for the day. Right now: Burglaries.

 "Burglaries are very intrusive crimes," said APD Shift Supervisor, Sgt. Gregory Elder. "We like to target areas with directed patrols to decrease this crime."

Today's target: vacant home break-ins on Easeman Avenue. Vagrants broke in, snagged copper wire from the electrical unit, light fixtures, attic, and water heater.

While officers were out on this property, Lloyd Brown saw them. He complained that someone had broken into his vacant property down the road. The bent door is just one remnant of the intrusion.  

"I came by and saw they kicked the door in," said Brown. "I was fortunate the police were in the neighborhood."

 From January 1st to February 99th, 134 burglaries have occurred in Albany. In January alone, the East District has seen 34 burglaries, Central 35 and West 43.  That's a total of 112 In January. The same number in 2009 but down from 146 in January 2010.

 According to Sgt. Elder, a simple police presence can prevent a lot of crime.

"Visibility is one of our best techniques and the directed patrol helps us stay in an area for an X-amount of time where we can concentrate on something," Sgt. Elder noted.

Visibility around the clock is golden for East District Supervisor Lt. Carmelita Preston. She's responding to a domestic call. They're more common on rainy days when people may not get out as much. 

A Domestic dispute elevated to an arrest. The man ran from police. They chased him down. It turns out, he's wanted.

 Rainy nights are also prime times for burglaries.

 "They do they're more prone to do business burglaries when it's raining like smash and grabs," Lt. Preston added. "You can ride by a house three or four times and the minute you ride away, they could break it. They're watching us just as much as we're watching them."

Lt. Preston says not as many people are out watching. Police say Truancy is big issue. Juveniles account for a large number of burglaries in the city. 58 were charged in 2010.  APD Officer Shelton Brown is making sure they're in school. If not. He wants to know why.

"You're not in trouble," Officer Brown told one kid. "You need to tell your mom you have to be inside if it's before 2:00 p.m. You're not in school. Tomorrow, if I see you out before 2:00 I will stop you next time."

 Brown isn't out here to scare kids. He's just making sure people know the law. Once supervisors complete their shifts, another timely task waits for them. Paperwork.  

 "This is a major part of our shift," said one officer.

Once paperwork is finished, they'll start another day with the same mindset to catch suspects that threaten our community's safety.

In 2010, 1,464 burglaries were reported in Albany.  In 2009,1,305 reports.  From January to June of 2010, Albany saw in increase in burglaries.  In July, we started to see those numbers decrease.

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