Roswell cracks down on crime

New laws keep criminals locally

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ROSWELL, Ga. – Roswell and its police department are trying a new approach to cut down on crime.

One could call it working smarter rather than harder.

One of the city’s trouble spots has been near the intersection of Holcomb Bridge Road and Old Dogwood Road, near the businesses of the Atlanta Hotel and the Studio Six motel. Crime has become so rampant at this intersection – not far from Ga. 400’s Roswell exit – that police have extra patrols scouting that area looking for trouble and drug activity.

Just this past week, a man was shot in the area. The shooter is still at large.

In an effort to clamp down on the crime elements in the city, Roswell has decided to strengthen some laws – specifically those dealing with loitering, panhandling and pimping.

“The city is trying to clean up that area,” said Lisa Holland, with the Roswell Police Department. “You go down there any given day and there are people standing around doing nothing.”

So the city has come up with 10 ordinances to keep an eye on the crime.

New laws on vandalism, drug use or selling, prostitution and obstruction have been drafted and are under consideration by the city.

The idea, Holland said, is to keep the criminals from going to downtown Atlanta to court and instead deal with the crime in the city.

When a petty crime is committed, the criminals are arrested in Roswell and then transported to Atlanta to jail or court. For the court date, the arresting officer has to attend.

“Our officers work 12 hour shifts. So driving all the way downtown to sit around and wait there, they could be there all day,” Holland said.

And an officer downtown is an officer not on patrol on the streets. If the officer is going downtown outside of his normal working hours, that full day could count as overtime pay.

Instead, using the new laws, Roswell can prosecute the crimes under local ordinances and hold the criminals up to six months in its own jail. Since Roswell contracts jail services with Pelham, Ga., that means those criminals will end up serving their time in Pelham, four hours away.

“Hopefully this will cut down on reoccurring crime by the same people,” Holland said. “We can keep an eye on these criminals committing the same offences over again. Eventually, they will move on or stop committing crimes.”

Roswell is changing these laws to strengthen its crime fighting efforts:

Disorderly conduct

Vandalism

Panhandling

Loitering

Prostitution

Public intoxication

Hindrance of a police officer

False representations to police

Loitering for the purpose of using, possessing or selling any controlled substances

Petty trespass

Revue and News 02-26-14