Serious crimes on rise in PTC

Peachtree City Police Chief H.C. "Skip" Clark

In 2009, Part 1 crimes up 58 percent over 2007

A spike in serious crimes first seen in 2008 hasn’t gone away in Peachtree City, but the rate of increase is much lower in 2009, according to figures from the Peachtree City Police Department.

In 2008 police recorded 637 “Part I” crimes, up from 422 in 2007. That's a surge of 51 percent, year to year. And in 2009, the number inched a little higher with 665 such crimes reported by police. That's a 4 percent increase from the previous year. The two-year spike is 58 percent.

The “Part I” crimes include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark told the City Council last week that much of the increase was due to more entering auto cases as thieves target electronics left in unlocked cars.
Many residents tend to view Peachtree City as very safe and don’t take proper precautions such as locking their cars and not leaving valuables in the car, Clark noted.

“We’ve had some individuals say, ‘When we come here it’s easy pickings because they don’t lock their cars and they leave stuff around,’” Clark said.

Clark also chalked up part of the crime increase to the economy and “growth around us.”

Clark said residents should strive to be more aware when shopping as the city is seeing an increase in those types of crime as well.

Peachtree City has between eight and nine patrol officers on each shift and the average response time to a call for service is 7.33 minutes. Part of the reason for the higher number is traffic on the roads, Clark said, and the other part has to do with the way the 911 dispatch center calculates the times, he added.

The department is also taking steps to combat graffiti in the community in part by purchasing special graffiti sensors, Clark said. While he chose not to elaborate about the new technology, he said the sensors are in several places around the city.

Police are also working on providing an option for residents to report graffiti online, Clark said. The goal, he said, is to get it painted over quickly and the department is looking at using a group of volunteers to photograph the graffiti and get it painted over.

“Sometimes we don’t see it quickly enough,” Clark said, adding that the public’s help is necessary.

The department is also making the most of collaborative efforts with other law enforcement agencies, Clark said. Peachtree City has joined forces with the Fayette County Tactical Narcotics Team, sending an officer to serve with that unit. The city has seen more narcotics cases being made here than in previous years, Clark noted.

Peachtree City also has combined its Special Response (SWAT) Teams with the City of Fayetteville, which helps reduce the duplication of resources, materials and weapons. The SRT is called out typically for warrants being served on persons who have weapons in a home with a tendency to become violent or on occasions where a distraught person threatens or hurts someone or might be barricaded in a home, Clark said.

The department is training its second K-9 officer as the K-9 program has received $24,000 in community donations, Clark said. The chief noted that the department is using Tahoe SUVs for the K-9 program instead of a regular patrol car in hopes of extending the dogs’ useful lives. It costs roughly $2,000 more than a regular patrol vehicle but the department thinks that money “is well spent for the life of the dog and that program,” Clark said.

The department has also received $27,500 in donations, much from Kia of Union City, to equip all officers with tasers. The tasers are a benefit because it gives officers an option to subdue a suspect with non-deadly force, Clark said.

The department has added three all-volunteer reserve officers and hopes to have two more join as early as this year, Clark said. The reserve officers pay their own way through police academy and once they graduate they must serve a minimum 30 hours a month.

The reserve officers are full-fledged police officers with full arrest powers and they can handle a variety of duties from patrol to investigations, to issuing alcohol permits for example, Clark said.

The department has also had successes in building community relationships with a police academy for interested adults and a junior police academy for teens along with the Community Emergency Response Team training for adults and teens, Clark noted.

Councilwoman Kim Learnard said she is certain the department is improving its community relationship with teenagers.

The department is also preparing to deploy five fingerprinting devices that will provide field officers with a way to determine if a suspect has a criminal record, Clark said. That program is being funded through a grant, he added.

The department is also continuing to have a presence on the cart path system, with 1,147 hours of patrol last year compared to 1,083 hours in 2008.

inkslinger
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I Sure Hope

the admitted city employees that are coming on here to (in their minds) duke it out with the citizens who are not employees, are 1)not doing this on city time and 2)right at the edge of making perceived threats to others.

If this is how you choose to represent yourselves as employees, then you might want to rethink these comments a second time before you post them. Just a suggestion.

Bonkers
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Wording!

Rate of increase less? Yet up over 50%! OK.

1100 + hours of cart path patrol over 365 days = three hours a day to cover three shifts, or one hour per shift. OK What counts as "Patrol,"

Bad crime up due to open car doors, graffiti a #1 rime? The recession is causing more #1s, OK.

Easy pickings for out of county people! Why is that?

Tazers, dogs, narcotics teams.....

normal
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Get a Gun,

And please get a license to carry, And a must is go to the range and learn how to shoot it. Then when the perps show up you wont miss.

DRT

inkslinger
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Here's a Suggestion for PTC PD

Do away with CERT, Citizens Police Academy, Teen Cert, Police Explorer, House Watch and all other programs that tie up staff.

Terriers88
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Ignorance is Bliss

Ah, the naivety once again never ceases to amaze me. Teen Cert, Police Explorers....have you the first clue? These programs get teens INVOLVED in their community. Having been involved in Scouting programs for many many years, it is by far money well spent to get kids involved in a community program. Why? Because it gets them involved and doing something PRODUCTIVE. What a concept! Get kids involved, get them doing something, keep them OUT of trouble. The City has great Exploring programs both in the Fire Department and Police Department. Oh, by the way, the Fire Department Explorer Post is run by both VOLUNTEERS and CAREER members who do this on their OWN TIME. They are not paid for it. I can't speak for the PCPD. Even if someone is paid for their time, it is money well spent. The Fire Department Explorer Post is supported by the Peachtree City Volunteer Firefighters Association. They raise money throughout the year with various fundraisers. They do not get money from the City. How clueless can one be to say do away with youth programs? There aren't enough. The more there is for kids to do, the less time there is for them to get in trouble. Goil...if you hate it so much here and don't want the amenities...LEAVE! The rest of us like it here. Take Bonkers with you.

Bonkers
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terriers: fake standin up fer them

I ain't agoin!
I ain't done nothin ceptin the truth.
Weuns got bad truble!
And...talkin positive and acting under cover agin staff is tomfoolery and cowardly.
I've heered thet afore....lak, "John" you air a doin wunderful wurk..couldn't be done more beter, but that old acountant sed to cut sum and you mak so much money, i dunall I cud do fer ye.

meanoldconservatives
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Bonker$

"I ain't agoin!
I ain't done nothin ceptin the truth.

Yeah, it's probably not the best timing, to be claiming this the day after you were caught lying and refused to admit it. I'm just sayin'....

PeskyGirl
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GOIL, can you elaborate?

How many in the staff of the PTC Police Department are "tied up" with these programs?

inkslinger
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PeskyGirl

I don't know those figures. I'm sure the PD tracks the time involved. I took the Citizens Police Academy years ago and it was a good course. It was about 3 hours a week for 8-10 weeks for us. Every class we had 2-3 different staff come in and give presentations. There was a manual that the PD made up for us. There were visual presentations made up for us to watch. There were demonstrations, also, prepared ahead of time. Oh, I just rememebered there has been an advanced academy course added since then, too, I think. That one involves ridealongs with patrol officers, too. I don't know what else it involves.
I don't want anyone to think I'm critical of these programs. The PD does a wonderful job with them. In a good econonmy, I'm all for them. But for the short term, until the economy gets better, and there are fewer desperate people committing crimes, I feel the time could be better spent in other areas.

Bonkers
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Pesky and Goil

Propaganda describes those classes better than most anything else!
I know of no one who has taken them who has prevented any crimes. A few could have called the police about something but that would have been those people who feel important around police. (however some people are flat-out afraid to be around them).
We do need more "flatfooting" nowadays in certain areas at certain times.

Davids mom
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PTC - beware of shortsightedness

The citizens trained in these organizations are extra eyes in your city to combat crime.

inkslinger
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PTC-beware of citizens trained

in these organizations....blah, blah.....you might want to read up on CERT and the other programs. These are not training classes for a vigilante force. Not even close.
They look good on paper for accreditation. They have no effect on the active policing of this city other than to let the citizens who take the classes more comfortable with police procedures.
They are a "nice to have", not a "need to have", and with crime increasing, they tie up staff time that could be devoted to better policing of this city. There will still be volunteers who will help for special events.

Davids mom
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PTC

The reason criminals come here to Fayette County is because the citizens are so very, very naive! When we first arrived we couldn't believe the drug deals we saw in the Avenue, the Pavilion, in parking lots, and on the cart paths!! Adults and children involved would carry on drug deals right in front of 'citizens' and no one did anything! My husband was sure that there must be some 'undercover' work going on - but we realized then - that there wasn't. The law-enforcement in this county is far more knowledgeable now and effective - but would be even more so if the citizens were more aware of what to do to provide them with information, etc. This does not mean a 'vigilante' group - just a group that is aware of what is going on! Storeowners need to have security on the premises; banks need to have security officers in full view; citizens need to lock their cars; place packages in the trunk; be aware of their surroundings; be aware of their neighbors schedules, etc. ISN'T THIS WHAT YOUR POLICE CHIEF IS ASKING? Community involvement has lowered crime in most areas in this country. It is when the community is afraid to get involved, or UNAWARE of what is going on around them - that the criminal element thrives. Citizens going on ‘drive alongs’ with law enforcement opens the citizen’s eyes and the eyes of the citizen’s friends and family of what to look for in order to have a safe community. Fayette County has law enforcement officers of all colors and all genders. Fayette County also has criminals of all colors and all genders. Fayette County has some of the most intelligent and observant citizens in Georgia. There is no good reason for the criminal element of any other section of this great state to feel that Fayette County is ‘easy picking’s’. For one to sit back and blame those who ‘look different’ or don’t live in Fayette County for all of our crime is wrong. Reading the police blotters in our local media proves that we have some homegrown criminals right here in Fayette County. One or two law enforcement staff educating and involving citizens is a good investment in fighting crime.

PTC_New_Native
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Programs

If you are looking at cutting staff, removing programs and making PTC the city you hope to achieve with all your changes; look no further. Clayton County has what you are looking for TODAY. I am sure your attitude, approach and short sighted outlook would be most welcome in that lovely community.

inkslinger
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New Native

Since you are new here, let me fill you in on a few things. The criminals come here from Clayton County to commit crimes. If you read the article and what Chief Skip said, you would know that. And, there is a big difference in the population that lives here vs. Clayton. But I'm sure you know that already. Another city employee heard from.

inkslinger
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Programs 2

Why don't you ask Chief Skip the stats on how much crime these programs have prevented.

intheknow
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PTCGoil

It’s obvious from your blogs that you would like our quality of life and amenities of Peachtree City destoryed by way of budget cuts, rather than spending a few extra dollors to help preserve what makes this place unique. Many of us don’t feel the same, maybe it’s time for you to move on to whatever you think is your utopia. And while your at it, take along a few of the other dolts that continually post up similar feelings. Maybe start with Bonkers; I know every village has one, but I’m willing to give him up.

Bonkers
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notintheknow!

I've been here since there was no fire department! I ain't going nowhere!

What bothers me is the haughty attitude of those paid by tax dollars. Not that they owe the taxpayers anything except to do their job, but they weren't hired to lobby for more tax dollars.

The pay and benefits were known when the job was taken. By working only
3 1/2 days per week they can all have a good life or another job. 12 hour shifts were common to me as a young buck in business. But I did it to get ahead, not criticize my payer.

Do we want a capitalistic society or a socialistic one?

inkslinger
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intheknow

okay, start with the name calling. I'm sure that makes you superior in your mind. Makes you happy, too. I'm not going anywhere. This city suits me just fine. However, there are many here, including you, from what you write, who feel that adding tax dollars to the budget is the only solution (many are city employees, naturally). Go ahead, increase your taxes, you say.

Tell me, what is your final amount you are willing to have them increased to? And, when that amount is reached, what then? Or maybe you just consider yourself filthy rich and money is never an issue for you. And that the majority living here are in the filthy rich category, too. Or, since you have admitted that you work for the fire dept., you want to preserve your job and your pay raise.
I'm not talking a 26.90 increase. I'm talking 3-5 years down the road. How many increases are you willing to accept? On top of what the county, school, state and feds will be adding.

My quality of life and amenities will not be destroyed by budget cuts. If you feel that way, I think a pay as you go fee based per use is in order here. Need more amenities, wanna keep the ones we have? Then pay as you use them.
The pettiness of your posts tells us more than we ever wanted to know about you, intheknow. And unlike you, I don't try to bully others off from this blog or out of town if I don't agree with them.

Terriers88
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Name calling???

Lets get to the facts shall we? First, your quality of life will be affected by bigger budget cuts. If you are so informed as to what is going on, then you would realize that the City's budget is at the point of cutting people. When you cut people, you cut service. It's that simple. We cut people last year and outsourced the landscaping. Tell me, do you think the City landscaping looks, better or worse now? How did YOU vote in that survey? Did you even bother? Fact: Impact fees have slowed to a trickle and there is no more SPLOST. Guess what, amenities you want and need (Police, Fire, EMS) need to be paid for. The only other option is a tax increase. Peachtree City is not the first to ever have to deal with this issue. Did you even read the article? Crime is on the rise. And now you want to cut Police budgets? What will you say when the response time goes up from the 7.33 minutes and it takes 9 or 10 minutes for an officer to arrive when someone is trying to break into YOUR house? Will you say, "Oh, its OK, I understand, we cut your budget because I don't want my taxes raised"? Be honest. I seriously doubt it. Judging from your blogs, you'll accuse the officer of being lazy or being parked somewhere yapping. Truth is, some people spend way too much time on the internet and not enough out in the real world.

Bonkers
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terriers: service

It is not necessarily true that cutting people will cut service. In the case of the police or fire departments, I'm sure whoever is on duty can respond just as quickly as they did before the cuts.
Only in the rare case of everyone on duty reacting to emergencies would that make for a further delay.

Now, also there are always further improvements to provide service with one or two less people. That part just requires special attention, especially from the sergeants, Lt., etc.
Also, expecting more than usual from those left is not unreasonable.

If we were to have a severe depression due to the federal government having a credit crunch and stopped supporting the states with grants, then we are talking some severe pay cuts in addition to fewer people!

It makes no sense for maybe one in 4-5 being out of work and having no income, for public servants to still be drawing full salary and having a full staff.
In such a case we would get "less service" from not only public servants but from everyone.

It is the job of our elected managers to make their budget with available money and do it with evaluated need in all departments. We don't want to see very many laid off from anyplace, but we blew our credit limits and must suffer for it. Be careful who you vote for in the future.

Speaking of response times going up: longer times between pay checks is also hard to live with. Those business people who provide jobs are feeling the pinch and won't tolerate swollen staffs paid by taxes!

Terriers88
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Since you and Goil accuse me

Since you and Goil accuse me of being a city employee, I'll admit it...I have before. BUT I ALSO LIVE HERE...which means my family lives here. We do so by choice and for a reason. There are servicess here that we feel are important. Services that are in danger of being cut. Pure and simple, I don't want any cuts. Truth be told, as has been mentioned in the paper many many times over the last week, the average tax on a #200,000 home would go up be $26.90 PER YEAR. Thats the cost to take a family of four through the fast food drive thru ONE TIME. Give me a break, you must be in pretty tough shape if you can't afford that.

The Wedge
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Yes, it is only $26.90,

or lets say 27. Now you can throw in an increase because school funding is being cut by the state. Then throw in a pay freeze at your employer. Then throw in electrical rate increases due to GHG rulings at the EPA. Then throw in a massive expenditure in healthcare that will push premiums higher. Then throw in the massive printing of dollars and factor in the devaluation of the dollar based upon fiat. If I have no control over most of this increase, then I want control over the local issue that I can affect.

The more you take money out of the citizen's hands and place it with the government, the less money is out there to circulate the economy. If every family loses 4 eat outs over the course of the month, it greatly affects whether restaurants can remain solvent. More unemployment, less money paid in taxes. It is a vicious friggin circle that we are determined to remain tracing around.

Bonkers
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wedge--terrior

Yes, it is the old proverb: it depends upon whose ox is being gored as to the help!