Clayton Police take new approach to crime

Clayton County Police Department officials have revised the way they quantify local crime, and the methods used to predict when, and where, crime could occur.

Implemented in August, the Targeted Investigations Through Analysis of Networks (TITAN) program was created in-house by Special Agent Rich Lecates. It focuses on graphics rather than data.

The modern-day approach to crime-fighting was unveiled during the department's recent open house ceremony. Capt. Richard Lavallie is commander of the TITAN unit and praised the program's ease of use.

"This is something that is easy to use and putting information together in a way that is easy for officers to understand," said Lavallie. "Officers can access the information right from the computers in their patrol cars, which gets us the most effective use of those machines."

Clayton County is divided into four patrol sectors, each is headed up by a captain. The TITAN program allows police officers to access crime information unique to each sector. They can see at a glance, for example, when and where armed robberies were reported.

"Burglaries seem to happen when the opportunity arises, but robberies are easier to predict," said Lavallie. "In sector one, there is a greater chance of an armed robbery happening between 10 p.m., and 12 a.m., on Fridays."

Armed with that information, officers can target specific areas to be as proactive as possible.

However, with the ratio of county police officers to the population being about 1 to about 1,000, Lt. Tina Daniel said residents are still relied upon to help prevent crime. Neighborhood Watch programs are effective, she said.

"Residents are better able to determine if a car doesn't belong in their neighborhood," said Daniel. "They are able to determine if something looks odd to them, because they live there. We need more people paying attention."

Daniel also urged residents to feel comfortable calling 9-1-1.

"If you see suspicious activity, give us a call," she said. "You can call 9-1-1 if you see something that doesn't look right. In the northwest part of the county, our 9-1-1 calls have increased, and crime continues to go down."

Deputy Chief Tim Robinson heads up the Support Services Division, which includes the 911 center. Last year, the center handled about 500,000 calls, he said.