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Zero murders in Troy, Pike in 1999

Staff Writer

Many people move to Pike County because of it’s small town appeal, and the area’s low crime rate is one of a comforting aspect that keeps them here.

Most of the incidents reported in the area are property crimes, said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, information officer with the Troy Police Department. Violent crimes remain low.

Last year, no homicides were reported to the Troy Police Department and the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.

One murder occurred in the Brundidge city limits, but it was ruled as self-defense.

Zero murders for Troy in 1999 is down from three homicides reported in 1998, Scarbrough said. Troy’s last murder occurred July 19, 1998.

Prior to that, there were two homicides reported each year for 1997, 1996 and 1995, he said.

The Troy Police Department began monitoring its homicide rate in 1993, Scarbrough said. In the past six years, there were 13 murders within the city limits.

All but one of these involved a firearm. The remaining homicide was a stabbing with a knife in 1994, he added.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage credits local citizens for the decline in homicides here.

"We have seen a lot of cooperation from the public," Everage said. "People realize the consequences for their actions.

"I think we are getting more responsible as a community. The Troy Police Department has taken steps to prevent murders, but the credit goes to the citizens. It speaks well for our town."

He added that the police department cannot take full credit for there being no murders last year, but the agency is working to create a law abiding community here.

"In a way, I think something we’ve done at the Troy Police Department might be responsible ," Everage said. "We have taken a more aggressive approach this past year to disarming people.

"We trained officers in this, and if they encounter a person who is in illegal possession of a firearm, we proceed to disarm him or her.

"If we have information about a convicted felon being armed, we look into that, or if we hear about a potential problem arising between people, we investigate it," Everage said.

Federal law prohibits convicted felons from having guns.

He added that a lot of murders are spur of the moment – anger or revenge. If law enforcement officers know when a dispute is going on, they try to intervene before a crime occurs. They often get reports of such tension from family members and friends of those involved.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas agreed with Everage that community awareness is the reason there were no murders here in 1999.

"We and the community are real fortunate not to have had any murders," Thomas said. "I hope the combination of several things caused this.

"We hope that as law enforcement we have made an impact. We had an exceptional number of cases cleared last year and hope through clearing these cases and making arrests, we contributed to putting criminals behind bars so these people were not able to commit other crimes.

"One crime leads to another," he added. "We hope people are being educated about the end result of murder and its punishments."