If you’re wanting a safe place to live and raise a family, you’ve come to the right spot.
According to the Movoto Real Estate website and blog, LaGrange is ranked as the 50th safest city in the state of Georgia. A pretty big achievement when you realize that ranking is out of the 622 cities in Georgia; 100 of which, like LaGrange, have populations of 10,000 people or more.
“It just affirmed what I already knew looking at the hard numbers,” said LaGrange Police Chief Louis Dekmar. “We always follow crime … what’s occurring and where. I get briefed on specific crimes and am always kept up to date. So far, crime is trending down.”
Movoto based their rankings on the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) crime stats, which the LaGrange Police Department also look at for their reports. According to the report, based on the year 2012 numbers, LaGrange had a total of 1,917 “Part I” crimes, which include violent and property crimes. Breaking those numbers down further, the city had 126 violent crimes and 1,791 property crimes.
Dekmar took it a step further and compared the statistics to those back in 1995. During that year, LaGrange had a total of 3,110 Part I crimes; 243 violent crimes and 2,867 property crimes. The difference is staggering. According to Dekmar, the decrease of overall crime is 38 percent. Violent crimes is down over 48 percent and property crimes has dropped 37 percent.
“It’s a cause for celebration,” said Dekmar. ” Is there more we can do? Yes. Budgets are tightening, people are being released who shouldn’t be released….but we’re taking care of the community day to day. We’re also looking beyond it to challenges down the road that will protect our community and ensure their safety.”
Dekmar credits his officers and a number of city initiatives that taking the right steps to continuing reducing crime in the city. Programs like Dash, which enforces housing codes and makes sure homes are livable and safe. Plus initiatives that help folks get back on their feet or those with little to low income, like Circles of Troup County, the United Way, Mental Health and Drug Court. And programs aimed at the city’s youths like the West Georgia Boys and Girls Club of LaGrange, Teen Maze, and Camp Viola. Just some of the dozens of organizations working hard to help people in need or stay on a positive path.
Chief Dekmar also said the city’s initiative to put in more parks through out town will also make a difference in area crime.
“Crime is symptomatic of other community factors,” he explained. ” It involves unemployment, out of wedlock births, drop out rates, drug abuse, mental illness.”
“If you’re not involved in drugs, gangs, or in an abusive relationship, your chance of being involved in violent crime is very low,” he added.
In fact, right now, the crime stats for LaGrange this year through June are promising. Dekmar said homicides and rapes are down 100 percent, robberies are down 16 percent. Although there is an increase in aggravated assaults and burglaries, the numbers are minimal. Dekmar said they’ve only had five more aggravated assaults and 20 more burglaries from last year. Many of those, he said, involved gangs or were domestic. And many of the people arrested are repeat offenders.
Overall, Dekmar said he is proud of his officers, the department, and the way the city is working together to make this a better - and safer- community.
“We meet or exceed national clearance rates. That is, we identify and arrest the offenders,” said Dekmar. “We have a high level of trust with our community. We arrest a lot of people, but we don’t use force. Last year, we arrested 6,000 people and we only used force 60 times … right around 1 percent.”
“We’re excited about the park initiative,” he added. ” We’ll continue to work with the faith based community and address those social issues that impact crime, institute policies, and identify those individuals who commit crimes and get them before the courts.”
Surprisingly, there were many cities that did not make the 50 safest cities in Georgia list, including: Columbus, Griffin, and Peachtree City, just to name a few.
To see the entire list of safest cities in the state of Georgia, visit www.movoto.com/blog/real-estate-and-more/safest-places-in-georgia.