Chief: F’ville one of safest cities

According to a recent safety poll conducted by the national security firm SafeWise, the city of Fayetteville was named as one of the top 50 safest cities in the state of Georgia.

SafeWise compares data from the FBI Crime Reports and other in-house research of Georgia cities with a population of 5,000 or more to compile an annual list of the safest cities in Georgia.

In the article by SafeWise, the company indicated, “Fayetteville has received some media attention in the past few years: named one of The Best Towns in Georgia for Young Families by NerdWallet, one of Forbes Top 10 Suburbs for Retirement, and the county was listed in the Top 20 Locations for Budding Technology Economy by Business Insider. With these types of recognitions, it is clear that Fayetteville is a great city for families of all kinds.”

SafeWise continued to report in addition to a thriving police department, the community has come together to develop the Fayette Visioning Initiative, in which all members of the community are encouraged to participate in creating a plan for the upcoming years to ensure a bright future for all of Fayette County.

As the city of Fayetteville chief of police, I am pleased that we are recognized for our efforts to keep our city as safe as possible. Over the past decade our city has continued to enjoy an overall decrease in criminal activity and we are still well below in comparison to most of our neighbors in the metro Atlanta area.

I credit a large portion of this decrease to several of the safety initiatives implemented by the police department and the partnerships with business owners and other law enforcement agencies within the county.

In the spring of 2013, we implemented a program focused at addressing the community’s concerns with crime at the Fayette Pavilion. In cooperation with the property management company and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, we increased staffing and patrols in the retail areas which has led to a decrease in criminal activity.

In addition to increased patrols, the introduction of license plate readers for the patrol officers has developed into a very useful tool in detecting criminal activity throughout the city and is currently being considered for use by many of our neighboring law enforcement agencies. This would provide a local network of information exchange for the purpose of criminal apprehension.

As the city continues to grow with the recent annexation of the west Fayetteville area, the police department and the sheriff’s office are committed to our partnership to provide police service and recognize the upcoming challenges as our community prepares for the future.

In addition to crime stats, we focus on the community’s concerns about crime. While many of the crime statistics show crime has trended downward over the past 20 years, concerns about crime have increased.

In a statement reported in the competitive assessment completed by the Fayette Visionary Initiative, “The number one challenge that residents cited for Fayette County was crime.”

I believe there is always a potential for any city or populated location to become a high crime area, but as law enforcement leaders, we need to continue to be progressive and work together with the Vision Initiative to address all indications of crime and develop strategic plans that not only enhance current endeavors but to also develop new ideas to be responsive to our community and strive to keep our city safe.

Scott Pitts
Chief of Police
City of Fayetteville, Ga.

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