Pine Bluff crime down from 2012

PINE BLUFF (KATV)--Good police work and closely looking at the data is what Pine Bluff's police chief credits to lowering the crime rate.

Overall, the crime rate has dropped 16.47 percent since last year.

Less than a year ago, Mayor Debe Hollingsworth and Police Chief Jeff Hubanks were elected in Pine Bluff.

Both envisioned changing the city's reputation, and their first plan of attack was making it safer to live there.

"Our estimates are that we've been losing around 600 people per year," said Hubanks.

Leaving Pine Bluff in search for a safer city

For years this area has been dubbed as one of the most dangerous places to live.

Hubanks said he believes it's the "crime and the perception of crime, which we're slowly changing."

According to the Pine Bluff Police Department's crime stats, 15 murders are on record for 2012, but so far this year nine have been recorded.

Theft numbers have also gone down from 2,591 to 1,971.

While most crimes have decreased, rapes and attempted rapes have increased by around 61 percent.

Motor vehicle thefts have also increased by around 13 percent.

"We take the time to find out which house the problem is intimating from, and we then go to that house and literally lean the full weight of the law against the people of that house," added Hubanks.

It was Hollingsworth who approached Hubanks, prompting him out of retirement to create a better tomorrow for Pine Bluff.

"We're a natural hub for southeast Arkansas, but to capitalize on those strengths and re-brand ourselves," said Hollingsworth. "So that when our name is put out people will think of us in a particular way rather than what we've been thought of in the past."

'Stop and Frisk' has been another program police have implemented, a program stemming from New York.

However, Hubanks said they aren't targeting anyone in particular and aren't frisking without probable cause.

He added that there have been zero complaints made regarding the use of this program.

The Pine Bluff Police Department responds to around 2,300 calls a month and currently has a little more than 150 police officers on staff.