Crime

Bibb's overall crime down, but homicides and burglaries spiked in 2015

Deputies investigate a homicide on Second Street in October. Vernard Mays, who worked in the warrant division of the sheriff's department, died of a gunshot wound to the groin, according to a Bibb County Sheriff's Office news release.
Deputies investigate a homicide on Second Street in October. Vernard Mays, who worked in the warrant division of the sheriff's department, died of a gunshot wound to the groin, according to a Bibb County Sheriff's Office news release. wmarshall@macon.com

While the total number of major crimes reported in Macon-Bibb County during 2015 dropped by 4 percent from 2014, the numbers of homicides, burglaries and business robberies are up, according to crime statistics released by the sheriff's office Thursday afternoon.

"Anytime you show a decrease is a good thing," Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said, adding there were about 370 fewer overall crimes reported. "You can look at that as there was one less crime per day in Macon-Bibb County in 2015 than there was in 2014."

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Though overall reported crime decreased, a 75 percent jump in homicides is a concerning statistic to Davis. Sixteen people were slain in 2014, but that number increased to 28 in 2015.

"That's a pretty significant increase, but those homicides were sort of across the board," Davis said, adding that in 2015 there were several domestic and gang-related homicides as well as three children who were killed. "Of those 28 homicides, 24 of them were solved, so that's an 87 percent solve rate. ... So there is a bright spot in that."

One of the year's killings was deemed justifiable, according to the report.

Burglaries increased by about 16 percent, up from the 2,479 reported cases in 2014, according to the statistics. There were 2,886 burglaries last year.

Davis said the increase is at least partly due to repeat offenders.

"We're beginning to see that the individuals we arrest for burglary ... they're not serving as long of a prison sentence as they may have been sentenced to," Davis said. Local judges give lengthy sentences for such crimes, but "the parole board reduces those sentences significantly," he said.

The issue may take some legislative action to resolve, the sheriff said, and other counties have been dealing with the same problem.

Last year's total number of robberies is down by 11 percent from 2014, but Davis said there was an uptick in the number of personal and business robberies.

As for less violent crimes, the sheriff's office noted a 10 percent drop in the number of larcenies, which includes shoplifting and entering auto reports. The number of auto thefts decreased 12 percent with 79 fewer vehicles reported stolen, the report said.

"That shows that people are keeping up with their items," Davis said. "Stores are doing a better job of keeping their items safe to keep people from shoplifting."

Here's a look at the year-to-year Bibb comparisons, with the 2014 crime totals first, followed by the 2015 figures.

Rape: 56; 51

Robbery: 338; 301

Aggravated Assault: 398; 367

Arson: 67; 67

Burglary: 2,479; 2,886

Larceny: 6,448; 5,811

Auto theft: 684; 605

Homicide: 16; 28

To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4334 and follow her on Twitter @Lauraecor.

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