Montgomery sees significant crime drop

Posted by: Bryan Henry - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A few days ago on Interstate 85, Montgomery Police caught a trucker with nearly $350,000 in suspected drug money. Back in January on the same interstate, another man was caught hauling $10 million in powder cocaine, the largest drug bust in the history of the police department.

"We have our Crime Reduction Team," said Major Huey Thornton of the Montgomery Police Department.

The Crime Reduction Team along with new methods of fighting crime have apparently reduced the overall crime rate in the city by more than 22% during the first three months of the year.

"We also went with 10 hour shifts with 4 days off. What that did was double the amount of officers on the streets," said Thornton.

Lyona Robinson says she feels safer and is very careful about her driving habits these days.

"You see them everywhere," said Robinson.

Greely Wells feels otherwise. He quite frankly doesn't feel safe in this city of more than 200,000.

"You read the newspaper and turn on Channel 12 news it's everywhere," said Wells.

Also making a difference according to Major Thornton is the fact the police department has split up the city in 3 precincts. Officers patrolling those 3 areas have established relationships with neighborhood residents. In fact:

"We now have officers giving out their cell phone numbers so citizens can call them and tell them about anything suspicious," Major Thornton said.

Police say crime in the first quarter dropped dramatically. They can only hope the trend continues.

Part of reducing crime was the installation of red light cameras last April. Since then city officials say more than $250,000 in fines have been paid.

Compared to two years ago, the Montgomery Police Department has around 25 more officers on the payroll and there is a waiting list of those who want to be hired.