On Friday we reported via social media that a young man had robbed our Publix by showing the cashier at the customer service desk a gun he had hidden under his shirt and demanding that she place all the money in her drawer into a bag. The clerk complied, the suspect left, and he was subsequently caught. We use social media to broadcast this type of information to keep you informed about crime and police activity as well as to highlight how safe this community is despite the occasional major crime.
And once we post the information, IT happens: a handful of well intentioned citizens post comments lamenting the "good old days" and how Tyrone ain't what it used to be. Here are some actual recent examples:
"That is so scary, I grew up in Tyrone and it is a shame how things are there now."
"It sounds like y'all are dealing with more of this crap now."
"...seems as though more and more crime is heading this way"
Folks, Tyrone is no more dangerous now than it was when I came to work here from Fairburn in 1999. We have always had armed robberies, entering autos, car chases, and burglaries and, due to the nature of our society, we always will. The ONLY difference between the "good old days" and now is that you just weren't as likely to hear about it back then.
You see, the TPD didn't start posting monthly crime statistics or publishing an annual report to the citizens until I became the police chief in 2007 and we didn't start using social media until 2008. Consequently, you hear about pretty much everything now because I believe it is important to share with you as much information as possible and social media empowers us to do that very quickly. In the past, it might have been reported in a local paper and talked about over breakfast at the Shamrock Kitchen, but the reports rarely received the widespread coverage that they receive today.
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about as far as our crime rate goes...
Here are all of our armed robberies since 2001 based on FBI UCR Table 8:
As you can see, Tyrone is no stranger to the occasional armed robbery, but an average of 1 per year over the past 15 years is certainly not a glaring example of things getting out of hand.
In fact, we have experienced a major decrease in major crime since 2011 and we are the only Metro Atlanta jurisdiction to boast double digit UCR Part I crime figures for the past 2 years in a row. Independent publications have named us Georgia's "Happiest" City, One of Atlanta's "Top 10 Suburbs" in which to raise a family, and (multiple times) we fall into the Top 10 of Georgia's safest cities - all due to our extremely low crime rates.
My colleagues in other Metro Atlanta jurisdictions would love to boast our UCR numbers!
We are constantly at work monitoring trends and looking for new ways to keep you safe and, based on our track record, it has been working very well!
Don't panic and PLEASE, if you ever feel like local crime is getting out of hand, do not hesitate to call me with your questions or concerns.