Sheriff says Adams County crime rate dropped for second straight year
Published 12:00 am Monday, July 3, 2000
For the second year in a row Adams County has seen a decrease in crime.
The Adams County Sheriff’s Department reported a drop of 191 in category one crimes, a decrease of 18 percent when comparing 1998 and 1999 figures.
&uot;Natchez-Adams County has one of the lowest crimes rates in the state for category one crimes,&uot;&160;said Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell, who thinks Adams County residents live in a relatively safe community.
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Crimes classified as category one are reported annually to the Justice Department and tabulated into nationwide crime reports. These crimes include murder/manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault/simple assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.
Despite the overall drop, some crimes showed an increase of occurrence during 1999.
Murders increased from zero to three, rape/sexual assaults increased from zero to 10 larceny, theft rose from 250 to 341 and motor vehicle theft rose to 14 from five.
Ferrell said law enforcement officials are seeing an increase in the number of sexual assaults reported.
The number of larcenies tends to fluctuate and the increase in motor vehicle theft may be related to with improvements in the reporting process, he said.
And better technology to enhance reporting, new laws and better law enforcement training have made departments more efficient and improved operations and more people are reporting crimes, he said.
The county saw its drop in crime in the number of aggravated assault/simple assaults, robberies and burglaries.
Assaults dropped from 573 to 298 and burglaries dropped from 216-192. Robberies dropped from 8 to three.
Stronger sentencing, such as the 85 percent law, may also play a factor, Ferrell said.
Each year, the Adams&160;County Sheriff’s Department also compiles a list of minor offenses to add to its listing of category one crimes. This list includes offenses not counted in national crime statistics such as auto accidents, disorderly conduct, DUI, disturbances, natural accidents and traffic violations.
This total number increased by more than 1000 during the past two years, from about 2,500 to almost 4,000 from 1998 to 1999.
Ferrell thinks this change is also due to changes in the reporting process and what offenses are documented by deputies.
For example disturbances jumped from 334 to 453 because of the reporting.
&uot;Our reporting system is getting better,&uot;&160;Ferrell said. &uot;(It’s) not because you have more crime than you used to (have).&uot;
Family disturbances such as domestic violence/simple assault are also increasing across the nation and jumped in Adams&160;county from 255 to 267 in 1999.
The county also continues to have a high percentage- about 80 percent- of repeat offenders.
&uot;That is extremely high for a little county jail of our size and a population our size,&uot; Ferrell said.
Ferrell blames this on the number of disturbances and drug problems in the county. About 75 percent of Adams-County crime is drug related, he said.
Adams County Crime Statistics for national crimes statitistics of category one crimes.
1990 – 536
1991 – 618
1992 – 903
1993 – 711
1995 – 874
1996 – 1039
1997 – 1268
1998 – 1052
1999 – 861