VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - The Valdosta Police Department crime statistic report for 2020 is in and the data shows the pandemic had a significant impact on crime in the city.
“I think a lot of it had to do with the pandemic, people staying home. I think that really helped out a lot,” said Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan.
Manahan said overall, crime numbers went down.
In 2018 and 2019 there were a little over 400 burglaries reported, but in 2020 there was a significant drop.
Chief Manahan said homicide rates did increase, however. Numbers doubled, in 2019 there were five, and last year the department investigated 10.
Out of the 10 homicides, 6 have been solved with suspects behind bars and two cases are close to being closed.
“You know, this was a really hard year for a lot of people. Income-wise, there was, you know, without there being jobs. Jobs went down, businesses weren’t open and a lot of people didn’t know much of what they were going to be able to do and that causes a lot of stress on people. Seeing a little increase in that crime, it doesn’t really surprise you with the type of year that we had and nationwide,” said Chief Manahan.
The department saw an increase in disturbance calls where police responded to scenes due to arguments, disputes and domestic violence.
Manahan said the department also saw numbers double in response to resistance, they had several officers get hurt on the job.
“You know, our department as well felt the pandemic just like everybody did and you know, we had officers that were out, we had officers dealing with family issues, child care, etcetera. And I think it really shows that our officers still stepped up and did an excellent job this year, didn’t let anything get them down. They still came into work, they still did their jobs and helped prevent crimes,” said Chief Manahan.
Manahan hopes in this new year, crime rates will remain low and the numbers for violent crimes, like homicides, will drop.