LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett police are so pleased with a recent "troop surge" in the county's south precinct that they'll consider using the tactic again.
From Aug. 18 to Sept. 14, the Gwinnett County police department flooded its south precinct -- which covers unincorporated areas of Stone Mountain, Lilburn, Snellville, Centerville, Loganville and Lawrenceville -- with an increased number of officers and high-profile details.
The effects, they said this week, are tangible.
"GCPD considers this operation a success," spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said, "and may conduct similar details in the future."
The department has released statistics comparing four major crimes -- robbery, residential burglary, entering auto and motor vehicle theft -- before and after the surge.
According to those stats, nine robberies, 33 residential burglaries, 18 entering autos and eight motor vehicles thefts were reported in the south precinct in the two weeks prior to the surge. During the second half of the four-week operation, those numbers dropped to one, 19, 10 and three, respectively.
Overall, a total of more than 300 arrests were made during the "South Surge," which included daily road checks, warrant sweeps, foot patrols and probation and parole sweeps. Sixty-five of those arrests were on felony charges, including a Sept. 12 discovery of half a pound of cocaine and the capture of Mark Wilson, accused of stabbing his mother to death.
"Most of the arrests were traffic-related," Smith said, "however many of these traffic arrests led to significant other charges."
To be exact, 211 traffic arrests were made. The most common arrests made were for suspended licenses (117), outstanding warrants (56), DUI (55) and marijuana possession (37).
The department's quality of life unit was also highly involved in the operation. Smith said the unit checked more than 450 businesses along the U.S. Highway 78 corridor from the Snellville city limits to the DeKalb County line. About 70 citations were issued for various violations, he said.
The quality of life unit also conducted ordinance sweeps in several neighborhoods with reputations for a "high number of serious crimes such as burglaries." In the Westchester subdivision off Five Forks-Trickum Road, more than 200 homes were checked and about 60 notices of violation were issued, Smith said.