The overall number of reported crimes in Anderson County fell 45 percent from 2007 to 2013, with the most dramatic drop during the past two years—2012 and 2013, Sheriff Paul White said in a recent press release.
Crimes against people have decreased 56.3 percent since 2007, crimes against society have fallen 42.5 percent, and crimes against property have dropped 41.1 percent, White said.
The most prevalent crimes in rural areas of the county are property crimes such as burglaries and thefts. Both have decreased significantly during the last two years, White said.
“This drop in overall crime can be directly attributed to proactive law enforcement and increased patrols of the rural areas of the county,” White said. “Added personnel in 2007 and 2008 have allowed directed patrols and enhanced investigations of property crimes. These efforts have resulted in more crimes solved and over 800 arrests for burglary and theft offenses since 2007.”
The sheriff said a new, proactive team of deputies was formed in 2008. It’s been named the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Unit, or ACE, and it targets burglaries and thefts, beefed up not only by patrols but also by serving arrest warrants on offenders involved in criminal activity, White said.
“This has been found to be an effective tool in combating crime and has been copied by other law enforcement agencies in our area,” he said.
Crime analysis and mapping have also allowed deputies to patrol “smarter” in areas where crimes are occurring. Crime analysis has also linked burglaries to offenders, resulting in arrests and a significant drop in burglaries and thefts during the last two years, White said.
“Each day, a crime report is forwarded to all deputies and investigators noting where crimes are occurring,” he said. “A crime map shows ‘hot spots’ and prediction zones so patrol deputies are aware of where and when these crimes are happening.”
The sheriff said crime prevention and programs such as Neighborhood Watch have also helped to reduce crime in Anderson County.
“A full-time crime prevention officer was established in 2009 and has allowed the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department to interact with the community and use their ‘eyes and ears’ to thwart criminals,” White said. “Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country, bringing citizens together with law enforcement to deter crime and make communities safer. Throughout the rural areas of the county, there are some 30 Neighborhood Watch groups keeping a close eye on their community. Neighbors watching out for neighbors has been a success, and the department thanks those volunteers who have made a difference.”
White said cooperation with other law enforcement agencies has also made a difference. Investigators share information with other agencies on a daily basis, and by working together, they are solving cases and making arrests.
“This cooperation extends not only to our local police departments but to state and federal law enforcement agencies as well,” the sheriff said.
A close partnership with the District Attorney’s Office is yet another method to help reduce crime, White said. He said sheriff’s deputies and investigators work each day with the DA’s Office on ensuring cases are properly prepared and ready for court.
“A tough stance on crime by District Attorney Dave Clark has allowed successful prosecutions of criminal offenders and many of the habitual criminals in Anderson County are now in jail or prison,” White said.
“Above all, this significant decline in reported crimes is from the hard work and dedication of the men and women serving with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department,” White said. “Sheriff’s deputies and investigators work tirelessly to combat crime. It is through their efforts these results were achieved and they are to be commended for all they do each and every day.”
The sheriff said all crime statistics are from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the crime numbers are from reported incidents to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and are primarily from the rural, unincorporated areas of the county. Crimes reported to the municipal police departments are not included.
Visit http://www.tncrimeonline.com for more information.