Remember the reality before falling back on perceptions

February 15, 2013 

Nowhere is the term “perception is reality” more apparent than in crime statistics. The release of the 2012 crime stats from the Macon Police Department over a 19-year period makes one wonder how the community dealt with crime when there were 33 homicides in the city in 1994 compared to 21 in 2012?

We point to what we perceive as a crime-ridden city, but the latest statistics point otherwise. We must have gone daffy when residential burglaries were 1,800 or more in 1996, 2000, 2010 and 2011. We think crime has increase when, according to MPD stats, the city experienced the lowest total crimes committed in 19 years, a 13 percent drop in 2012. Rapes have declined from 101 in 1994 to 35 in 2012. Robberies are up 10 over 2011, but when compared to the 1994 total, robberies have been cut in half. Auto theft has dropped from a high of 1,639 in 1999 to 492 in 2012, the lowest total in almost two decades.

Eliminating crime, while a worthy goal, is impossible. What police departments strive for is to catch the perpetrators. The MPD solves more rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults and murders than the national average,

The MPD is not perfect. The as yet unresolved shooting of Sammie Davis Jr. and the recent arrest of two officers for theft and one for disorderly conduct in Warner Robins should not detract from the fine record of the MPD in reducing crime. But again, perception is reality.

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