Residents of Valdosta have a reason to feel safer this year.
Statistics show that Valdosta’s overall crime rate has declined significantly as compared to previous years. According to the Valdosta Police Department, crime is down 14% for violent and property crimes.
Property crimes are usually crimes of opportunity. For example, incidents where a criminal sees valuables left inside cars, like a phone and/or purse. The City of Valdosta saw a significant drop in property crimes.
In 2018, burglaries were down by more than 100 cases as compared to 2017 numbers. Motor vehicle crimes were also down by 40 cases.
Interim Police Chief Leslie Manahan credits the decrease on the police department educating the public on ways to prevent these crimes from happening and when to report suspicious activity. Manahan also credits the public for stepping up and making it harder for crime to be committed.
“We can’t be everywhere we need to be at one time, but people have been taking preventative steps, like setting up alarm and camera systems at their homes now,” said Manahan. “Citizens are coming forward and reporting things to us. We are seeing much more community engagement than previous years.”
According to Manahan, the community and neighborhood watch systems help to create a good dialogue between the community and police. “When people see something in the area where they work and live that sticks out to them as being odd if they call the police department and allow us to investigate it, a lot of times we’re putting ends to crimes before they even start.”
Homicides were also down in 2018. Although homicides are usually cases that cannot be prevented, the Valdosta Police Department ensures the public that they work to solve them and bring justice.
“We are consistently clearing cases way above the national average. Valdosta is a great place to live and work. Crime does not take the spotlight here. Valdosta continues year after year to be a safe community,” said Manahan.