The 2016 crime statistics released Monday for Bibb County showed a drop in major crime and a significant reduction in homicides.
In an analysis of major crime, the 8,567 incidents reported in the county last year amounted to a 7 percent drop over the 9,222 major crimes in 2015.
There were 20 homicides last year compared to 28 in 2015, a near 30 percent drop.
Of the 48 combined homicides in 2015 and 2016, only two remain unsolved, Sheriff David Davis said.
“That speaks well of our investigators and speaks well of our community because we couldn’t solve any of these crimes by ourselves,” he said. “Every time there’s a violent crime, people start calling my investigators because all my investigators are products of this community. They know people and they have connections. People feel comfortable coming forth ... to be able to help solve some of these crimes.”
Both unsolved homicides occurred last year.
On May 12, the badly decomposed remains of a black or bi-racial female were found in an empty lot in the 1900 block of Feagin Road. An autopsy revealed she had suffered at least one gunshot wound to the head.
The woman’s remains were sent to the GBI and then the FBI for further analysis. Her identity remains unknown and no one has been charged in her death.
“If anybody has any kind of information or has heard anything on the street about this, it’d be very helpful,” the sheriff said. “That kind of lets us know if this is a local situation or if this is someone who may have been brought in from another area and just dumped there.”
“Our investigators continue to follow leads on that one,” the sheriff said. “As time goes on, I’m sure we’ll get a break in it.”
In the late 1980s and 1990s, the sheriff wasn’t unusual for Bibb County to have as many as 30 homicides annually.
“There’s always going to be crime and there has been and I think when you look at the numbers, especially in violent crimes, over a long period of time ... we are significantly lower,” the sheriff said, adding that the 28 killings in 2015 was “kind of an anomaly.”
Even so, similarly sized Columbus had about 25 homicides last year, the Ledger-Enquirer reported.
Most homicides in Bibb County last year were domestic with some drug-involved robberies and justifiable homicides.
Aggravated assaults, which include shootings and serious-injury violence, dropped 5 percent from 369 in 2015 to 356 in 2016.
Arson also dropped 4 percent, down to 62 from 67.
There were nine fewer rapes in 2016, which led to a 17 percent drop to 43 reported rapes from 52 in 2015.
The number of robberies dropped by 7 percent. Shoplifting and other minor thefts dropped 10 percent.
Residential and commercial burglaries proved to be a stubborn problem for officers.
In 2016, 1,941 burglaries were reported, which was down 2 percent from the 1,982 incidents reported the year before.
The sheriff says the number of burglaries here each year “remain about constant” between 1,900 and 2,000.
“That seems to be where we’re at now,” the sheriff said, adding that he’s long aired concerns about property criminals being released early by the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The only major crime that increased last year is auto theft, which is up 8 percent.
In 2016, 651 automobiles were reported stolen compared to the 604 reported stolen in 2015.
Bibb County 2015-2016 crime statistics
- Homicide 28 to 20 -28%
- Rape 52 to 43 -17%
- Robbery 304 to 282 -7%
- Agg. Assault 369 to 356 -4%
- Arson 67 to 62 -7%
- Burglary 1982 to 1941 -2%
- Larceny 5816 to 5242 -10%
- Auto Theft 604 to 651 +8%
- Totals 9222 to 8597 -7%
Source: Bibb County Sheriff’s Office