FoCo Sheriff releases annual report, a look at crime numbers from 2021

Justine Lookenott

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The annual review gives a look back at 2021 crime rates, awards & honors, highlights of the year and finances, among other topics(Image by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

(Forsyth County, GA) The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office just released its annual review for 2021.

The review gives a look back at 2021 crime rates, awards & honors, highlights of the year and finances, among other topics.

In a “message from the sheriff” in the report, Sheriff Ron Freeman said Forsyth County has the eighth largest county population in Georgia and is the third largest full-service Sheriff’s Office in the state, providing services to about 260,000 residents.

“My approach to crime remains relentless,” Freeman said. “Criminals intent on victimizing or harming our citizens are learning Forsyth is not a place to be for them. While Forsyth County remains the safest metro Atlanta county, your FCSO is constantly looking for new trends and stands ready to react to any threat to Forsyth.”

Crime comparisons by year

Between 2010 and 2020, Forsyth County’s population grew from 157,511 to 251, 283. Freeman said that despite the tremendous growth, 2021 crime rates were lower than they were five years and even ten years ago.

Most crimes including murder, burglary, robbery and theft have been declining since 2012 whereas D.U.I. (driving under the influence) and other traffic related crimes saw a slight uptick in 2021.

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Most crimes including murder, burglary, robbery and theft have been declining since 2012(Image by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

The Traffic Enforcement Section of the Sheriff’s Office is made up of the Traffic Unit, H.E.A.T. Unit, D.U.I. Task Force, Motors Unit, Traffic Specialist Unit and a Traffic Response Vehicle. They saw traffic related citations go from 9,613 in 2020 to 12,196 in 2021.

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The Traffic Enforcement Section saw traffic related citations go from 9,613 in 2020 to 12,196 in 2021(Image by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

Car crashes with injuries and/or death reports were mixed.

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Car crash death and injury rates from 2020 and 2021(Image by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

A month-to-month comparison for April 2021 to April 2022 posted by the Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook page sees the same general trend among traffic violations, with a rise in texting and driving citations, accidents and speeding warnings. However, there was a drop in D.U.I. arrests.

Crime comparisons by county

Being located next to a major city has its downsides, as the Sheriff’s Office has learned in recent years.

Freeman said nearly 50 percent of “significant” crime in the County is committed by out-of-towners, usually from the metro Atlanta area, something he testified about in 2021 before the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives.

“Far too often, we face serious repeat offenders and career criminals from other jurisdictions who have been given second chance number 5, 6, or 7,” Freeman said. “I don’t know a Sheriff worth anything who does not believe second chances are sometimes deserved, but not for career criminals.”

He said they are creating better partnerships with the law enforcement communities in counties like Fulton and Gwinnett to hold criminals accountable. The most recent example being the Drug Task Force (JCaF) with the Johns Creek Police Department, where they are targeting opioid, fentanyl and heroin dealers.

Still, compared to other metro Atlanta counties, Forsyth County’s crime rates remain relatively low, having the lowest murder rate and tying for the lowest robbery rate.

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A crime rate comparison chart for metro Atlanta counties(Image by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

More than fighting crime

Throughout 2021, the Sheriff’s Office also:

  • Visited and provided training concerning U.S. jail and court laws and practices for members of Ukraine Law Enforcement.
  • Extended the Pups with Purpose Program to include Canine Good Citizen training, which provides therapy dogs to other agencies, non-profits, businesses or citizens.
  • Added two new K9s to the unit
  • Foiled a murder-for-hire plot
  • Donated 20,189 hours of volunteer work
  • Ended the fiscal year $964.817 under budget
  • Picked up 158,000 pounds of trash through the Inmate Litter Detail

“Serving as your Sheriff remains the highlight of my law enforcement career,” Freeman said. “I am truly humbled by our citizens’ trust and confidence in me and our FCSO, and I thank you for the opportunity. You have my commitment that we will be relentless in pursuing crime and understanding in resolving even minor quality of life issues.”

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I cover local news in Forsyth County, GA. My debut into the writing world began at the age of 10 when I won an essay contest in Around Acworth Magazine in which I wrote about spending the summer with my pet goat, Eclair. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University, I have been published in several newspapers and magazines in the Atlanta area including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta School Guide, What Now Atlanta, Newcomer Magazine, the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune.

Forsyth County, GA
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