City’s crime rates mostly down, despite fewer police
By Randy Bell
With the exception of a summertime jump in auto burglaries, Clinton’s crime numbers are looking good as the fourth quarter of the year gets underway. Police Chief Ford Hayman told the Board of Aldermen at its October 18 meeting that other categories of felony crime are trending downward, compared to last year.
Ford said eight residential burglaries have been reported so far this year, compared to thirteen for all of 2021. Business burglaries have dropped by one from five to four. There’ve been sixteen grand larcenies in Clinton, compared to twenty last year, and only one robbery – after the City saw seven in 2021. And the number of aggravated assaults is half of what it was last year—two compared to four.
The only fly in the ointment – auto burglaries, which have jumped from twenty-eight to thirty-nine. But Hayman said Clinton was targeted by six thieves in late July and August, which is when most of those crimes were committed. The chief said there was a rash of about two dozen burglaries before the thieves were caught. Three of the suspects were part of the same group, two others worked together and the sixth suspect operated alone. All but one were from outside Clinton.
Hayman said Clinton police are keeping crime in check, even though the department is down ten positions from last year. CPD is in the process of hiring some new officers and is using social media to advertise the job openings.
And police will have some new equipment soon – hopefully. The Board approved the purchase of four new patrol cars.
“We’re crossing our fingers that Dodge can actually fulfill this order,” Hayman said. Two trucks the department ordered last year were never delivered.
CPD will use a $70,000 Homeland Security grant to buy thermal imaging and night sight optic systems for the SWAT team and to install a new access control system at the police headquarters and court services building, replacing an outdated system.
And funds from a recent drug seizure will pay for the purchase of a thermal imaging drone.
“It’s time to expand our drone footprint,” Hayman said.
The new drone will increase what police can do at night, using heat signatures to locate victims during rescue operations or to track down suspects on the run.