November 2, 2009 9:49:00 AM
Since focusing and increasing midtown patrols in September, the Columbus Police Department has succeeded in lowering incidents in the most crime-plagued area of the city.
In the middle of August, when the CPD began releasing crime maps, more than 30 crimes were reported in the area from 22nd Avenue North to Pickensville Road and east to west from Fourth Street North to 28th Street North.
In the past week, the same area produced 21 reports.
"I feel very happy with the results we have," said Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John. "It doesn''t look like just one area is getting hit. I think activity in that area has dissipated."
Overall, crime is down slightly in Columbus, but St. John says it''s too early to judge the success of the department''s efforts. The city still has a problem with burglaries of homes and businesses and car break-ins, he said.
"Burglaries have whipped our butts. Last week, I think we had three burglaries. It''s great we reduced them, but that has been a recurring theme," said St. John.
"It''s better to be talking about burglaries and car break-ins as the No. 1 problem as opposed to violent crime," he said. "Car break-ins and burglaries seem to be consistent, though they''re not all focused in one area."
Seven burglaries, including homes and autos, were reported in Columbus in the week of Aug. 12-18. The week of Oct. 21-27 saw 12 burglaries reported.
Disturbance calls in the same periods dropped from 27 to 23. Ten disturbances in October were simple assaults; six were domestic disputes and one involved a gun.
Total calls to the CPD in September included 261 disturbance calls and 38 burglaries.
Reducing burglaries is a priority for the CPD, said St. John, but investigation of all crimes will continue as normal.
"If we do not take care of the problems that we have now they will escalate," he said.
1. Dead bald eagle found in Columbus appears to have been shot COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. 'Stan the Man' retires COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Boys and Girls Club ready for first off-site program COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Consultant brings fresh eyes to short-staffed CPD COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. 2 MSU employees apply for Turner's school board seat STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY