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Sheriff: fewer serious crimes, spike in auto thefts
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Protecting property was the central theme Thursday night when citizens representing more than 25 neighborhood associations in Rockdale County gathered at the JP Carr Center with local leaders to discuss topics ranging from crime and identity theft to transportation and water resources.

Sheriff Jeff Wigington and Clerk of Superior and State Court Ruth Wilson both addressed the Rockdale Coalition of Homeowners and Civic Associations and described initiatives aimed at reducing crime.

Wigington reviewed crime statistics for the county and said so far this year, there is a downward trend in crime, although auto thefts continue to be a large problem. He reported in 2011 there were 168 auto thefts but so far this year, there have been 103 in the county. Those numbers do not include thefts reported in the city limits.

"We are on track in 2012 for reductions in rapes, robberies, assaults and thefts if we maintain the same level,"
Wigington said. "Auto thefts are slightly up and again we can do our part to keep our cars locked and report any suspicious activity."

He also announced that so far this year, there have been no murders, four rapes, 12 robberies, 96 assaults, 325 burglaries and 728 thefts reported in the county. He said in 2011 there were no murders, 15 reported rapes, 42 robberies, 214 assaults, 677 burglaries and 1567 thefts in the county.

Wilson said her office will soon be offering a free and optional "property check" service that will notify property owners when any record is filed against their property. After signing up for the service through the Clerk of Court's website, property owners will have the option of receiving either a text message or email notification that will include a copy of the document that was filed.

"We have had some incidents of mortgage fraud that have been occurring," Wilson said. "We have had a few sovereign citizens' arrested in Rockdale County. We want you to arm you will know about it quickly and can come to our office to straighten it out."

Wilson said the free service will be available within the next few months and property owners will sign up by establishing an account on the clerk's website,