Crime stats vary
Published 2:56 pm Monday, October 9, 2006
By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
When Monte McGougin became Brewton's police chief late last year, he quickly added 14 sworn officers to the force, nearly doubling its size.
McGougin believes that more manpower will be effective in curbing crime in the city.
That allows one officer per sector, with a supervisor also on duty, McGougin said.
But while he hopes the increased number of officers will curb crime, the police force can't eliminate it. “Crime is here to stay,” McGougin said.
According to the latest statistics available from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, law enforcement agencies in Escambia County saw an increase in reports of some crimes - including burglary and theft - but the incidence of violent crimes remained low over the five years. And in rural areas of Escambia County - outside the city limits of Brewton, East Brewton, Atmore or Flomaton - reports of crimes went down from 2004 to 2005.
The FBI tracks reports of crimes including homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft.
Rape and murder are much more rare in Escambia County, so those statistics tend to remain low. In a five-year period in Brewton, for example, only four cases of homicide were reported.
The FBI defines robbery, theft and burglary in different ways. Robbery is the only one of the three classified as a violent crime, because it involves the taking of possessions by force or by threat of force.
While the reports of robbery were up from 2001 to 2005, in 2005 only 17 cases of robbery were reported in Brewton.
In East Brewton, there were only seven reports of robbery over the five years, with none in 2005.
Burglary is defined as entry of a structure to commit felony or theft - use of force is not required. In Brewton the incidents of burglary varied between 55 and 72 over the five-year period, with the 72 instances coming in 2003.
East Brewton had an average of 13 burglaries per year over the five-year period.
Theft is defined as the unlawful taking of a possession - shoplifting and purse-snatching would fall into that category. There were 332 incidents of theft reported in Brewton in 2005, up from 275 the year before. There were 319 reports in 2001.
Motor vehicle thefts, meanwhile, saw a decline in Brewton from 2004 to 2005, from 19 to nine.
In unincorporated Escambia County, the total incident reports went down from 373 in 2004 to 165 in 2005.