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RCSO reports decrease in burglaries and assault, increase in robberies
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The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office reported a decrease in burglaries, assaults and rape but an increase in robberies for 2013.

The RCSO crime statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program for 2013 are as follows:

Murder 2
Rape 7
Robbery 40
Aggravated Assault 159
Burglary 609
Larceny-Theft 1,485
Motor Vehicle Theft 165
Total 2,467

The crimes that saw a reduction in 2013 were Rape (down by six incidents, or 46 percent), Aggravated Assault (down by 44 incidents, or 22 percent), Burglary (down by 34 incidents, or 5 percent) and Motor Vehicle Theft (down by 20 incidents or 10 percent).

The crimes that increased in 2013 were Robbery (up by 11 incidents, or 38 percent), Larceny-Theft (up slightly by 11 incidents or 0.7 percent) and Murder (up by one incident, or 100 percent).

Overall, the RCSO experienced a slight reduction for all Part I crimes in 2013, about 3.2 percent reduction from 2012.

A new trend that the RCSO said it believes contributed in part to the increase was the use of internet sites by suspects to arrange a meeting with unknowing victims to buy and/or sell goods, and instead robbing them when they arrived. While only two of these type robberies occurred in 2013, the trend has already carried over into 2014 in an early January robbery. The RCSO did improve on the robbery clearance rate by clearing or solving 50 percent of the robberies by arrest or exceptional means in 2013, compared to 28 percent in 2012. The national robbery clearance rate average is around 28 percent.

"Any year in which crime goes down is a good year," said Sheriff Eric Levett. "While we are pleased in the overall reduction for 2013, the goal of the RCSO is to see an ever bigger reduction in 2014. During my first year in office, my goal was to improve the equipment for deputies and to bring better technology to the RCSO to help in our crime fighting efforts. By achieving many of the equipment and technology goals for 2013, I feel we are much better prepared to address crime and disorder in the county. Rolling into 2014, we are already preparing to develop specific responses to residential burglary. While we saw a decrease in burglary in 2013, I think we can continue to alter our responses to be more effective to make our residents feel safer in their homes."

One technological improvement that the RCSO is rolling out in 2014 is the public crime map and predictive policing component that is part of the RCSO's contract with Public Engines. The public crime map will be available online and allow citizens to see what crimes are occurring in the county. When the public crime map is released later this month, citizens can personalize the crime map by setting up alerts to be emailed to them when a crime is reported in their area.

The predictive policing component is part of the RCSO's CommandCentral Public Engines product. CommandCentral Predictive features an advanced mathematical algorithm that uses historical crime data and other factors to show deputies which areas of the county are statistically more likely to see a crime occur during their shift. Other agencies using similar predictive policing programs, such as the city of Norcross, are already seeing its value. A RCSO statement said the agency is excited to be the first sheriff's office in Georgia to use this technology.