JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Jonesboro Police have released their 2008 crime statistics, showing promising numbers for city leaders. Overall, the city's crime rate was down 11%. Increases were found in DUI and DWI arrests.
"Different areas and different neighborhoods in the city, they change. And they change demographically. The make-up of the neighborhoods change, the economics of the neighborhood change and with these transitions comes changes in criminal behavior," said Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates.
The most recent criminal activity happened on West Nettleton near James Street. A police affidavit reported 4 juvenile boys attacked another juvenile around the YMCA. All five boys, between the ages of 12 and 14, attend the Annie Camp Junior High School. The victim sustained lacerations to his face, but is otherwise okay.
Jonesboro officers patrol certain portions of the city more often than others. Leaders of the Southwest Church of Christ and Jonesboro YMCA hope after-school programs will teach kids how to tell the difference between right and wrong.
"In the last 4 years, we spent more time focusing on things around here at the church building," said Chris Harrell, associate minister of Southwest Church of Christ.
"We do see a diverse cross section of people. I would say primarily it is a working class environment by and large," said Bob Williams with the YMCA.
The area of West Nettleton is much different than other locations in Jonesboro. High-income housing is on the east. Low-income housing is found on the west. The YMCA is in between both groups, making it very unique.
"This is a very good community. This area around Southwest is a very positive place. We know there are moments and occurrences where things don't always go the way we would want them to go," said Harrell.
Civic leaders hope to get young people at an early age.
"We do kind of need to be on a little bit more of an alert, but we know things happen. Fortunately we don't experience hardly any break ins, and as far as the safety, feeling of getting in and out of the parking lot, I don't hear hardly any complaints about that," said Williams.
Williams and Harrell both said the new Jonesboro Fire Department and park, which is currently being built in between the church and YMCA building, will keep criminal activity down in 2009. They believe the fire department will always have someone inside the building, and the park will be well lit at night.