While the rate of serious crimes in Conyers is dropping, officials are concerned that both the public and criminals have a different perception.
At the city's Jan. 24 Winter Retreat, Police Chief Gene Wilson reviewed recent crime statistics showing that serious crimes in Conyers were down 14.7 percent in 2014 from the year before. Each category of major crime saw a decrease except for aggravated assaults. The five-year trend is a 6 percent decline.
But with media reports highlighting the crimes that do happen, City Manager Tony Lucas said, "The perception is that crime is just out of control."
Wilson said he believes "mid-level drug-dealers" also have the perception that Conyers is a place they might be able to escape law enforcement crackdowns. The violent crime that does happen is largely drug-related, he said. He is proposing a new Street Crimes unit and will station an officer with a drug dog along I-20 to deter such perceptions.
Smaller crimes also may be an issue. Wilson reported that resident calls to police are up significantly, from 24,578 in 2013 to 29,878 last year. He added that already this year, CPD has received 10 calls about someone firing a gun, compared with three at this time last year.
Showing how tricky perception can be, Wilson and other officials speculated that part of Conyers' crime-perception may be a county-wide uptick in crime. However, recent stats from the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office report an even deeper decline in serious crime, around 20 percent.