Mayor Bob Corker said Wednesday that Chattanooga has experienced "an enormous drop in crime over the past three years."
The mayor went to police headquarters on Amnicola Highway and announced the latest crime figures to a large group of city officers. A reception followed.
Mayor Corker said newly compiled data shows that crime in Chattanooga is down 26 percent compared to three years ago and that violent crimes in the city have dropped by more than half.
He praised the men and women of the Chattanooga Police Department "for their outstanding efforts which have been instrumental in driving down crime in Chattanooga."
The mayor said, "We have made the safety of our citizens a top priority and have seen dramatic results. We have a great leadership team in place at our Police department focused on results, more committed and diligent police officers on the streets than at any other time in our city's history and we have created great partnerships with other supporting agencies including the Federal government. As a result we have experienced tremendous reductions in our crime rates and families in Chattanooga are safer."
Preliminary data indicates that in 2004 the city experienced an extraordinary decrease of 25.91% in all crimes committed, compared to 2001. Violent crimes for the same period dropped even more dramatically falling by 50.21% in 2004 compared to 2001. Figures indicate that the 26 homicides in 2001 were reduced by more than half in 2004 to a total of 12. The data also shows that the reduction has been consistent, being driven down more and more from year to year, it was stated.
The mayor and Police Chief Steve Parks recognized partnerships at all levels which they said have helped the police department in their efforts. District Attorney Bill Cox and U.S. Attorney Sandy Mattice were among the invited guests.
"Tougher and strategic enforcement, coupled with the focused and dedicated efforts of officers in the department have caused many violent criminals to be permanently removed from Chattanooga streets," the mayor said. He cited the federal Safe Neighborhood program, which he said is putting the most dangerous criminals in prison for long periods.
"The success we have experienced has been built on teamwork and partnership," said Chief Parks. "We will continue to use our resources to put the bad guys behind and bars and to ensure the safety of the citizens of Chattanooga."
Mayor Corker stressed the importance of "staying focused on continuing the trend."
He said, "The drop in crime our city has realized is the result of hard work and a focused strategy designed to get criminals and thugs off our streets and behind bars for many, many years. Our efforts are paying off to the benefit of our citizens and to keep our city strong, we must continue to focus our efforts on results, doing everything possible to make our city safe and secure."
The mayor gave a ringing endorsement to Chief Parks, urging the next administration to keep the present police leadership team in place. Among those present was mayor candidate Ron Littlefield.