Petal sees drop in violent crime

Petal sees drop in violent crime
Petal Police

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Petal was named one of the safest cities in Mississippi in 2014, and with recent crime stats showing another drop in violent crime, they may soon snag that award once again.

"In 2014 we had 104 total crimes that are classified as either a violent crime or a robbery or burglary, in 2015 we only had 65, that's a 37.5 percent decrease," Petal Mayor Hal Marx said.

Breaking down the numbers show in 2015 the city had two robberies, one aggravated assault, 20 domestic violence cases and 28 burglaries.

The only category that saw an increase was domestic violence, with 20 cases, which was up by 15 from 2014.

"These numbers are low because the officers are out there being proactive, they are getting out there they are talking to business owners, they are patrolling the neighborhoods, trying to keep them safe and being visible in the community," Petal Police Chief Leonard Fuller said.

The department also has an 85 percent case clearance rate, clearing 271 cases in 2015, which has steadily increased since 2011.

"You know instead of just taking the report, they actually go out and try to solve the crime instead of handing it over to detectives, they will go the extra mile and try to solve it themselves, which puts more eyes on the case and allows a better chance to be solved," Fuller said.

One key thing that Marx and Fuller both stressed was there has not been a murder in the city since 2011.

Overall in 2015:

-Robbery is down 50 percent (2 cases)

-Aggravated assault is down 75 percent (1 case)

-Grand larceny is down 63 percent (14 cases)

-Burglary is down 47 percent (28 cases)

-Domestic violence is up 400 percent (20 cases)

-Murder is 0 percent (0 cases)

Both Marx and Fuller give credit to the community and citizens for being involved and proactive in helping have a safe city.

"The one area that you really can't police is domestic violence, and that seems to be on the rise everywhere currently," Fuller said.

One key area that Fuller says his department is concerned with is the crimes that are related to prescription drugs. Whether it be home burglaries, or business break-ins thieves looking for prescription medications to steal is a growing problem.

"I guarantee you are going to be hard pressed to find a city our size in Mississippi that has a lower number than that, so we are very pleased with that," Marx said.