Greenville police see drop in crime, more community policing

Updated: Feb. 21, 2019 at 6:43 PM CST
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GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - The Greenville Police Department released its crime totals for 2017, 2018 and so far in 2019. The department saw a 38 percent decrease in overall crime from 2017 to 2018, and Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn said, so far, 2019 numbers are right on track with what the department has on record for this time last year.

“We’re very proud of that,” said Lovvorn. “Of course, there’s not just one reason why that happened. It’s a multi-faceted approach that we took.”

Greenville police received reports of 223 total “part one” crimes in 2017 and 152 in 2018. In 2017, the department closed 162 cases. Officers closed 199 cases in 119. Lovvorn said part one crimes are those considered to be more serious like theft, assault, murder, arson and rape.

In both 2017 and 2018 the most common crime was theft, with the department working 129 cases in 2017 and 77 the following year. The second most common type of crime for both years was burglary, followed by assault.

Lovvorn said he and his officers have made major strides to build relationships with the community by hosting events and implementing community-based policing.

“We do our Cops and Kids Day where we get out the grill and make hot dogs and play games with the kids to build that relationship,” said Lovvorn. “We also worked to target areas and track the crime there and when it is happening so we can have patrols out there.”

He also said he has allocated funds and made time for officers in his department to undergo training in areas like mobile devices, self-defense instructor certification, firearm instructor certification, active shooter training, crisis negotiations, advanced tactical training. He said the department also works with businesses and community members who request their services to assess facilities for risk and vulnerabilities.

The department also uses cameras and targets geographic areas in the city to take a proactive approach to fighting crime and has two school resource officers at the high school and middle school.

Lovvorn said he believes working with the community is the most important tool officers have to fighting crime.

“Working with the community usually always means immediate results once we get the information and look into it," Lovvorn said.

Moving forward, Lovvorn said he would like to see that effort continue with more neighborhood watch groups being implemented in a neighborhoods across the city in 2019.

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