The total number of crimes recorded by Dunwoody police increased last year over the previous year, with the greatest increase reported in thefts.

The number of violent crimes decreased to 45 in 2012 from 89 in 2011, according to statistics from Dunwoody police. But the number of nonviolent crimes – theft, larceny and motor vehicle thefts – increased to 1,935 in 2012 from 1,688 in 2011, according to police.

“We’re down about 50 percent in crimes against persons,” Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said. “Where we are up is in property crimes.”

The biggest increase came in theft reports. Police statistics show the number of reported thefts rose to 1,552 in 2012, from 1,370 in 2011.

“The problem for us is just that Dunwoody is a great location for the people who live here, but it’s also a great location for the bad guys,” Grogan said. “It’s convenient to get to and to leave.”

Grogan said many of the people arrested for thefts in Dunwoody live somewhere else in the metro area and come to Dunwoody to commit crimes. People arrested by Dunwoody police have come, he said, from “all over metro Atlanta – Atlanta, Decatur, just about any city you have we have people coming from there.”

He thinks the reason is simple:  “Bad guys like to steal good stuff,” he said.

He said the largest targets for potential thieves were areas with large concentrations of cars, such as shopping center or apartment parking lots “Wherever you’ve got a concentration of cars is typically at risk,” he said.

Thieves look for items left in the cars, such as laptop computers or GPS systems, that are easy to grab, he said. “You’d think people would be educated enough about it,” he said, “But they still leave laptops in their cars.”