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Suwanee police: Arrests down, speeding tickets up in April

SUWANEE -- Arrests and calls for service continued to drop in April, while speeding citations spiked for the second straight month, according to figures released this week by the Suwanee Police Department.

When compared to April, 2011 arrests have dipped by more than 25 percent. But the SPD reported speeding citations rose by more than 200 percent compared to 2011. In April, Suwanee police made 165 speeding citations, which brought the year-to-date total to 440. There were 58 arrests in April, which made the year-to-date total 227, down 76 from the same period a year ago.

Calls for service were down 20.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

Chief Mike Jones said the department has two officer vacancies, which could explain why some categories rise or fall, but there are too many variables to draw a simple conclusion to the statistics. In the last year, Jones said the department once had five vacancies.

Jones hired three officers earlier this year, but they are still in training or enrolled in the police academy.

"We're not going to hire people just to hire them; we're looking for the best qualified people we can find," Jones said. "They have to meet certain standards."

The only seasonal surges Jones said the city experiences are shoplifting around the holidays, and misdemeanor trespassing and vandalism in the summer.

Construction thefts, which are generally tied to building activity and the housing market, have gone down in the last five years, Jones said.

"We are beginning to have more construction, so that might be something we begin to watch for," he said.

The service delivery dispute agreement that was settled in February and allowed radar to return in March isn't a direct correlation to the spike in speeding citations, Jones said. Radar is a safer tool police use to monitor traffic flow, he said.

"I'd much have them on the side of the road doing that, slowing people down, than my officers try to sit in a congested area, and pull out and try to catch them for following too close, wreckless driving or making improper lane changes," Jones said.

Officers are placed in what Jones called "high accident areas, where we need them, when we need them" along Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, and near Interstate 85 and Satellite Boulevard.

Jones said he's proud that the city hasn't recorded a fatality yet this year, and DUI arrests are down across the board. There were just four DUI arrests in April, and 22 for the year, compared with 18 and 61 for the same periods last year.

Comments

Erk 2 years, 2 months ago

"Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, and near Interstate 85 and Satellite Boulevard" also known as "THE GAUNTLET". Whatever you do, keep both hands on the wheel. Turn off your radio. Turn your headlights on even in broad daylight. Don't make eye contact WITH ANYONE - keep your eyes on the road. Make one slight mistake, and they are lurking in the bushes waiting to trounce and write that citation.

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JohninSuwanee 2 years, 2 months ago

Yes, totally agree Erk. I see SPD hiding in the bushes in a number of places. I wish that they would just make themselves visible rather than skunking around in the bushes trying to catch people going 5 mph over the speed limit or who have forgotten to buckle their seat belt. Hate to say it, but I see these guys as a bunch of small town Barney Fifes.

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CD 2 years, 2 months ago

"I'd much have them on the side of the road doing that, slowing people down, than my officers try to sit in a congested area, and pull out and try to catch them for following too close, wreckless driving or making improper lane changes," Jones said.

A novel idea: how about fighting crime. Actual crime. Do what the citizens of Suwanee pay you to do.

If you're not patrolling and looking for actual crime, then I would expect arrests to be down and traffic citations to be up.

Oh, and there would be a few more DUI cases proceeding forward, including our esteemed Gluttonous Heathen superstar Nick at the Chamber, had the felonious behavior of the SPD not occurred and the cases not dropped.

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R 2 years, 2 months ago

It’s GREAT to have that city revenue flowing again with an approved SDS isn't?

OK there Dirty Harry gottcha on the interchange, but its good advice - applicable both here and in DOWNTOWN Manhattan by 30 Rockefeller Center.

WE are getting more like New York City with each and every day that passes. No wonder Propeller fellers believe we need to cram that airport package through …

Actually, I’m surprised the county doesn’t press for more CABS with all the Medallion FEES they could collect…

But perhaps they will if TSPLOST passes so they could jam up traffic even worse while getting you to pay both for miles travelled AND wait times….
(After all, it works in the HOT Lanes - we DO see you folks "sit" too you know)

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news2me 2 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like you folks are inviting criminals to commit crimes so that the police can stop writing tickets. Do you even want a police force there?

I suppose you don't think they should arrest parents for providing alchohol to children: http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news...

Be happy that you live in a town that doesn't see alot of major crime and is on lists as a desirable place to live. Be careful what you wish for and complain about.

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R 2 years, 2 months ago

Actually they won the ranking you mention while the right to use speed detection devices was SUSPENDED here for a couple of years...

So the ticket focus stands out a bit SINCE the speed detection usage has just come back on line ... it is a bit of a coincidence no?

Besides if they are sitting hidden off to the side of a interchange they aren't responding to the home in need now are they?

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CD 2 years, 2 months ago

@ news2me: I'm truly mystified as to how you believe I support crime with regard to my post. Suwanee, should crime statistics remain “favorable”, would enjoy that perk DESPITE the SPD.

Ask the owners of the hot dog establishment right up the street from the SPD what they think about crime in Suwanee, especially since their break-in and robbery not too long ago. Ask those that suffered losses to property simply because they were using a county park in Suwanee and left their car parked while they walked, etc. Again I ask: what is more important to the citizens: tickets or FIGHTING CRIME.

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news2me 2 years, 2 months ago

So was SPD suppose to have known that a hot dog stand was going to get broken into? I think CD's car might get broken into tonight at George Pierce Park, so let's watch his car so the crime doesn't occur.

SPD is suppose to have ESP. Really?

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CD 2 years, 2 months ago

@ news2me: SPD should be on patrol in the parks and in the commercial districts, residential areas, etc. instead of sitting behind a row of bushes clocking speeders. The bottom line (no pun intended) is that revenue is their main focus, not fighting crime. Again, if this is okay with the taxpayers of the city so be it, but I cannot believe that is really the case.

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news2me 2 years, 2 months ago

I have witnessed SPD patroling business areas and I am sure they patrol the rest of their jurisdiction as well. Not sure if the county patrols that particular park, but everyone knows that lots of vehicles are being broken into at practically every county park on a daily basis. I have seen them patrol at Tribble Mill, but that doesn't stop the crime when cops are not there. The police cannot be everywhere you want them at all times and given the society we live in now days we are asking them to be low paid superheros.

Speed "traps" are a revenue generator for every jurisdiction and municipality, that is not going to change no matter how much the public complains. I was fined once in the 80's for speeding, and that was the first and last time. Doesn't mean I won't speed again and I want be happy with it, but I can only blame myself - not the police. Don't want to pay a hefty fine, then don't speed or break the rules of the road - it's that simple.

Not trying to argumentative, but I think we have bigger problems to worry about these days. Just presenting my view of things.

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JohninSuwanee 2 years, 2 months ago

From my POV, I would far rather see them patrolling and having a visible presence. They have admitted themselves that visibility is a crime deterrent and used it as a reason for building that new station just a few miles up the road from their headquarters. Under no circumstances do I like to see my law enforcement officers hiding on the side of the road trying to catch people doing minor things.

I once saw the burly motorcycle officer pull his bike into a driveway on Moore Road and walk across the street to hide in the shade of the trees with his ticket book in hand. I watched him stand there and pull people over for not coming to totally complete stops and other “serious” crimes. I would think his time would be better spent actually doing what we taxpayers really want him to do…patrolling the street and detering excessive speeders and more serious offenses.

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