Community comments lead city, police to tout decrease in crimePublished 9:50pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Crime statistics filed by the Selma Police Department for 2011 showed an 8.2 decrease in total incidents from those recorded in 2010.
Selma Mayor George Evans said he asked Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley to read the numbers at Tuesday’s Selma City Council meeting in response to some media reports crime in the city had increased drastically under Evans’ administration.
“Naturally, I’ve been very concerned about a lot of the language out there, the dialog and discussion of the city when it comes to crime and comparisons,” Evans said. “Here is the data that reflects the status of the city based on data that’s been reported and recorded on crime and murder in our city… I don’t know where they’re getting their data from, but it’s not what our data shows.”
Records indicate that a total of 1,765 incidents were recorded in 2011, a decrease from the 1,923 reported in 2010.
Of all the categories listed — arson, assault, auto theft, breaking and entering of a vehicle, burglary, forgery/fraud, murder, rape, robbery and theft — decreases occurred in breaking and entering of vehicles, burglary, forgery/fraud and murder.
Up-to-date numbers for this year, which revealed the city is on track to have significantly less incidents than in 2011, were also presented at the meeting.
“If we continue on the path that we on are now, we will continue to see a decrease in crime,” Riley said. “Even though our numbers don’t show it, the officers are working hard … and their efforts are being shown by this decrease in overall crime.”
Figures in every category except murder are well below 50 percent of 2011’s totals. According to the police statistics, the city is 20 percent below last year’s total of murders.
Selma City Council President Cecil Williamson questioned Riley about a report he had heard on the radio earlier Tuesday that said crime had increased a significant amount under the current administration.
“As you can see, that is just not true,” Riley said. “We do not have an increase in overall crime. We are doing what we need to do.”
“It just amazes me, Chief, that all of these numbers are on the Alabama Criminal Justice information website,” Williamson replied. “Anybody can go to that website and see what these numbers are. And people who tell these lies to the community think we’re all stupid, that we’re not going to look for ourselves and see that they are lying; it’s just amazing to me.”
Evans said the fact that people will go out and trick people during an election year and call that politics was unreal.