Elizabethtown crime rate down; force logs 3x required training

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Police Department’s rate for solving cases is at 10-year high, so the Elizabethtown Town Council learned recently at its budget planning retreat.

During 2017, the department solved 75 percent of its cases, something Police Chief Tony Parrish attributed to those around him.

“We have a really great group of (officers) right now,” said Police Chief Tony Parrish.

Not only is the group solving more cases, but the number actually being assigned is also down. The year 2016 saw a 24-percent decrease in the number of cases assigned, and the figure fell another 11 percent for 2017. The number of cases assigned refers to calls or tips that result in the case being given to an officer.

In all, the department received 3,780 calls for service during the last year. It assisted the fire department 113 times and lent a hand to motorists 203 times. More than 620 warrants were issued, along with 279 subpoenas. The department was called to 208 traffic collisions and wrote 1,940 traffic citations and 286 warning tickets.

Parrish presented a report to the Council showing a 17.2 percent decrease in fraud from 2016-2017, along with a 28.6 percent decrease in narcotics cases during the same time. Felony larceny saw a slight uptick, from 64 to 68, but the numbers are still down 25.3 percent over the 91 cases in 2015. In fact, in most areas, the town is seeing a decrease in crime.

The following numbers reflect the cases in 2016 and 2017:

— Homicide: 1 to 0

— Aggravated assault: 6 to 5

— Robbery: 10 to 5

— Arson: 3 to 1

There were no kidnapping cases in either year.

The only area that saw an increase was sex offenses, which stood at one case in 2015, increased to four in 2016, and increased to six last year.

If Parrish is right about his “great group,” their training may play a role in the decrease in crime. In addition to 442 hours of statutory training, the force logged a whopping 889 hours of specialized training.

“We’re not hiring anybody just to fill a slot, and I feel like we have a great team,” Parrish reiterated.

The Board agreed.

“I like our police department,” remarked Councilman Ricky Leinwand. “They’re all over downtown, and they’re very polite and professional.”

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.

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Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal