In 2012, the overall crime rate for Macon and Bibb County dropped. The Macon Police Department reported that the past year had the lowest total in 19 years, dropping 13 percent in total crimes.
The total number of crimes committed was 7,459, putting the area 1,100 crimes down from 2011’s 8,559. These numbers reflect an overall trend in crime in Macon in the years since Mike Burns became the Macon Chief of Police.
Burns has been in office for eight years, during which a significant decrease of crime in Macon has occurred. In the past eight years (2005-2012), 69,713 crimes were reported. In the eight years prior to his arrival (1997-2004), 91,982 crimes were reported to the MPD.
Burns said much of this reduction is due to a plan enacted in January of 2012. The plan called for officers to increase their visibility and to be more attentive of being near businesses and residential areas.
The officers are meeting with more success in stopping and solving crimes because they are near the areas where crimes are committed.
Burns sums it up simply by saying that the officers are “responding quicker.”
Despite the overall decrease in Macon last year, several areas of crime did in fact rise. Homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault numbers increased in the past year. Significant drops in automotive theft, larceny, and burglary countered these increases. According to Burns, rape and homicide saw an increase because those crimes are harder to predict and prevent. Burns said that their best effort in these categories is to “just try to get them in jail quick.”
Their efforts to capture and jail violent offenders have resulted in an 80 percent success rate with capturing rapists and an 86 percent success rate with homicide.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office reported that its crime rate dropped nearly 10 percent in 2012. Both Bibb County and Macon saw a decrease in property crimes this past year. Bibb County Sherriff David Davis credits the new metal recycling laws that went into effect last year. Criminals had been breaking into buildings and even stealing cars to sell the metal.
The county saw a rise in domestic disputes, arson and aggravated assault. They saw a decrease in auto break-ins and general auto theft.
One area of crime that saw a rise this year was commercial robberies. However, Davis explained that the increased number is at least partially due to the eight robberies of the X-Mart adult-themed store on Emery Highway in the past year. These eight robberies count for a large portion of the 30 that occurred countywide last year.
Both Bibb County and Macon beat the national average for crimes solved. The national number of crimes solved was 48 percent. Bibb County saw 64 percent of crimes solved, while Macon saw 65 percent. The city of Macon awarded Precinct 3 with the 2012 MPD Crime Reduction Award for having a 21 percent reduction in overall crime.
The two departments are set to be consolidated next year, and they plan to continue the practices they have instituted in recent years. The consolidated Macon-Bibb County government will begin in January 2014 and replace the current governments of Bibb County, the city of Macon and Payne City.