Violent crime has dropped more than 40 percent since the Sandy Springs Police Department started in 2006, but recent stats show property crime is up 35 percent, said Chief Terry Sult during a town hall meeting, Thursday.
Sult cited the struggling economy and the Criminal Justice Reform Act that was passed last spring by the Georgia Legislature.
“The Act puts the focus on violent criminal offenders, keeping them in jail with the funds that are available to the state,” said Sult. “What that means is those who commit property crimes are not higher priority for incarceration.”
Sult along with Fire Rescue Chief Jack McElfish, and Public Works director Kevin Walter addressed District 4 residents during a public meeting by Councilman Gabriel Sterling at Woodland Elementary School.
The new law translates to decriminalization of burglary in Sult’s view. “Basically, they have to come with a gun and stick it in your face before [they get] jail time.
When possible, Sandy Springs Police arrest larceny and burglary suspects on city charges. Those cases are brought to the city’s Municipal Court where judges can send them to jail.
While neighborhood crime is low, 37 percent of overall crime takes place in apartment complexes, Sult said.
Twenty five percent of the apartment communities are located in District 4.
Fifty four percent of property crime is in apartments, Sult said. “We’ve got to keep pressure in neighborhoods because we don’t want that to get displaced out of apartments into the neighborhoods. Our job is to displace it out of Sandy Springs,” he said.