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City of Thomasville sees slight decrease in crime rate during the pandemic

Pictured here is a row of Thomasville Police Department officers standing in the street with police cars behind them. In the background is the American flag.
Provided by the City of Thomasville
The Thomasville Police Department says certain crimes like robbery, homicide, and rape decreased by 12% in 2020 versus 2019. Police Chief John Letteney believes COVID-19 had an impact.

The Thomasville Police Department has released its annual 2020 report. The document shows certain crimes have decreased by 12% in the city.

The report breaks crime down into two parts. Police Chief John Letteney says part one crimes are generally more major, violent crimes like rape, robbery, and homicide. While Part two crimes, he says, are generally less serious and violent.

"Part one crimes in 2020 went down from 745 the previous year in 2019 to 655 in 2020," Letteney said.

Letteney said that's a 12% decrease in part one crimes. He believes COVID-19 had a significant impact.

"People were not out as much, so when they're mostly home, burglaries reduce," Letteney said.

Letteney said the amount of part two crimes committed remained roughly the same from 2019 to 2020. According to the report, in 2019, 1,033 part two crimes were committed. In 2020, that number increased to 1,067. Letteney said overall, crime in Thomasville has been trending down over the past five years. 2,201 part one and part two crimes were committed in 2016 versus 1,722 in 2020.

Letteney said COVID-19 also impacted traffic. Collisions reported to the department decreased by 17% in 2020 versus 2019. Letteney said fewer people were on the road at the beginning of the pandemic.

"Less vehicles on the road means less opportunity for vehicles to hit other things. What we did see, however, and this is a trend across the country, was an increase in more serious wrecks, not in the volume of them but because speeds were higher. Less traffic on the road, less traffic congestion, people were driving faster," Letteney said.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.