Serious crime reported in Sandy Springs dropped about 20 percent in 2017, including a nearly 30 percent drop in burglary reports, according to police department statistics.

The department’s current concern is an increase in fatal traffic accidents, with three already this year. The city reported an average of more than 20 vehicle accidents of some sort per day in 2017. Deputy Chief Keith Zgonc said at a May 1 City Council budget hearing that the department will request the hiring of two night-watch officers – a sergeant and a patrol officer – to boost traffic enforcement.

Crime rate declines

Like most police departments around the country, Sandy Springs annually files statistics on “Part I” or serious crime reports with the FBI. The 2017 stats show most of the decline was in property crime, with a small decrease in violent crime. There were decreases in most categories from the previous year, with slight increases in arson and aggravated assault reports.

Total Part I crime was down about 20 percent, from 3,001 crimes reported in 2016 to 2,398 last year. Violent crime reports were down about 6 percent, from 134 to 126, and property crime reports down about 21 percent, from 2,867 to 2,272. The overall crime rate continues trending downward so far this year, Zgonc said.

The stats in Part I categories for the numbers of reported crimes in 2016 and 2017:

Homicide: 3 to 0 (down 100%)

Rape: 14 to 12 (down 14 %)

Robbery: 67 to 56 (down 16%)

Aggravated assault: 50 to 58 (up 16%)

Burglary: 535 to 377 (down 30%)

Larceny/Theft: 2,110 to 1,710 (down 19%)

Vehicle Theft: 214 to 176 (down 18%)

Arson: 8 to 9 (up 13%)

Not all crimes are reported to police. The Part I crime statistics are intended to give a general sense of a city’s crime rate in commonly reported categories.

Traffic concerns

Police Chief Ken DeSimone said earlier this year that he is concerned about fatal traffic crashes, particularly on the city’s surface streets. The three fatal crashes in Sandy Springs so far this year include two on Roswell Road and one on I-285.

According to police department statistics, there have been 35 fatal crashes in the city since 2012.

In 2017, the department reported a large number of traffic crashes in the city: 7,529, or more than 20 per day. That amount was up only about one-half of a percent from 2016.

In 2017, police issued 29,243 traffic citations, up 21.6 percent from the year before.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.