City police release statistics for 2012Published 6:03am Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The Russellville Police Department recently released several statistics for 2012 that Police Chief Chris Hargett said the department would use to improve on their services and coverage in 2013.
According to reports, the RPD responded to 11,142 calls for service last year, which is more than 1,600 more calls than the RPD responded to in 2011.
Hargett said officers also made 554 arrests in 2012, which was actually slightly less than the 597 arrests they made in 2011.
Of the arrests and service calls that were made, Hargett said they noticed a few areas of crime that have gone down in the past year, including DUIs, which went from 61 in 2010 to 49 in 2012.
“There are several ways we could look at the decrease in the number of DUIs we have had here in the city,” Hargett said.
“One reason could be attributed to an increase in patrolling and following up on calls of suspected DUI activity.
“We try to be vocal about the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving or driving under the influence of a controlled substance, so we hope that some of that information is registering with residents and they are choosing to not risk their lives, the lives of someone else, or the chance of being pulled over and arrested for a violation.”
Hargett said the city of Russellville going wet in November 2010 has also possibly affected the DUI arrests.
“Before alcohol sales were legalized in the city limits, everyone had to go to the Shoals to drink,” Hargett said.
“When they are drinking and decide they’re probably on the verge of having too much, their blood alcohol level would continue to rise on the 30-minute or more trip back home, and we would get a lot of arrests like that from people who either lived here or people who were passing through Russellville to get back to places like Hamilton and Haleyville.
“Now that the city is wet, people can purchase their alcohol and drink it at home or here locally and there’s less of a chance for people to be drinking and driving.”
Hargett said while DUI arrests have declined, arrests for crimes such as petty thefts and burglaries have gone up slightly.
“We attribute the increase in these types of arrests to the economic times we’re living in,” Hargett said.
“We try our best to be proactive and increase our presence in city neighborhoods to deter crimes like this, but with the economy the way it is, many people think the solution is to take what other people have.”
Hargett said the thefts and burglaries aren’t out of hand, but it’s definitely something they will be keeping an eye on in the coming months.
“Our goal is always to deter crime and lessen the amount of cases we have in all areas of crime, but the economy affects our department just like it does any other business.
“We are working with less people now than we were six years ago, so it isn’t always easy to stay on top of everything that goes on in the city limits.
“But with these stats, we have an idea of which areas we are doing well in and which areas we need to focus on more so we can come up with ways to be more proactive and keep crime rates in all areas at a manageable level and not let any certain crime hit a spike in activity.”