published Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Dalton crime rates up, but police solving cases


Dalton police solved a higher percentage of crimes in 2011 than 2010. The department's clearance rates are below.

Violent crimes

• 2010: 41 percent

• 2011: 69 percent

Property crimes

• 2010: 26 percent

• 2011: 40 percent

Source: Dalton Police Department

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Crime rates climbed in Dalton, Ga., in 2011, but police cleared a higher percentage of those crimes, according to figures from the Dalton Police Department.

During a meeting this week with the Dalton Public Safety Commission, Police Chief Jason Parker outlined year-to-date statistics that include increases in both violent and property crimes.

During the year, Part I crimes -- which include homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, larceny, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft and arson -- were 5 percent above the first 11 months of 2010, Parker said.

"There are multiple factors [for the increase], but the most obvious is the fact that the economy is so bad," police spokesman Bruce Frazier said. "Dalton has been hit really hard by that phenomenon. When people lose work, they can get desperate."

During the meeting, Parker noted that clearance rates for both violent crimes and property crimes increased dramatically in 2011 compared to 2010.

A case is cleared when it ends in arrest, is otherwise resolved or a charge is dropped, not necessarily when it is solved.

The year-to-date clearance rate for violent crimes is up to 69 percent, a sharp increase from the 41 percent clearance rate for the same period in 2010.

The clearance rate for property crimes increased 14 percentage points, Parker told the commission.

"We have a lot of good teamwork in place right now and a set of very dedicated officers," said Frazier.

The department has developed a more streamlined system of communication with other law enforcement agencies in Whitfield County and across the state over the last two years, he said, and cooperation between the agencies helps clear cases.

Overall, calls for service were up 3 percent this year over 2010, Parker said.

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