From The Tribune staff reports
CENTER POINT — The city of Center Point held a public hearing on a new report about a Department of Justice analysis of the city.
The original report took a look at crime from 2014 to 2016 and some of 2017. After comparing actual crime numbers to the report, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Metro Area Crime Center (MACC), reported its numbers from 2014 to 2017. Some variations were noted.
The MACC said the original report mentions robberies from 2013 to 2017 but said that data did not come from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
“It is unknown where this data came from or if it is a typo,” the MACC report stated.
A similar response was given on the number of burglaries from 2016 to 2017.
The MACC reported the city of Center Point had an increase in violent crime from 2018 to 2019. Property crime remained fairly consistent.
The purpose of the diagnostic analysis by the DOJ was to identify areas for improvement in the prevention of crime. The report also compared crime statistics with other cities in the Birmingham metro. The report was made at the request of the city of Center Point.
The DOJ’s Diagnostic Center provided several models of crime prevention programs that could work in Center Point. Suggested programs were Collective Efficacy, Environmental Design, Neighborhood Watch and Community Policing. Details on those programs can be read in the full report below. In the report, the MACC detailed Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway’s new programs that are already addressing issues citizens reported to the DOJ.
Sheriff Pettway was at the meeting Thursday. Pettway said his deputies are serving the city of Center Point every day and offering community policing in the area. The sheriff said his top priority is the safety of residents of Jefferson County. Pettway asked all residents to alert the sheriff’s office if they see anything suspicious so that deputies can be proactive in curbing crime.
The DOJ suggested the city use contract deputies to respond to violent crimes and property crimes rather than focusing on city ordinances. The DOJ also suggested the city create an online crime dashboard to show reported crimes and improve transparency.
Mayor Tom Henderson said the city is adding an additional 10 Flock Safety cameras, making the total in the city 50. The tag reading cameras are connected to the Metro Area Crime Center and will alert deputies when a camera “hits” on a license plate.
The city of Center Point said it is implementing new features across the city to make the area a more livable city and to decrease crime.
Since the OJP study was done and the Sheriff’s report was completed, the City has continued to work to make the City a better place to live, work and play,” the report stated. “The City has added a full service community center, a splash pad for the children and a library opening June 15, 2020. A dog park is being developed at Saturn Lane and Center Point Pkwy. Construction should begin on an addition to the Senior Center on Polly Reed Rd soon.”
The full original report and the MACC report, plus the response from the Jefferson County Sheriff and the city of Center Point can be read below.DOJ report with City of Center Point reponses