Eyewitness News at 6, 2-12-13

6:54 PM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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Water levels rising on the Ocmulgee River... Shutting down the Heritage Trail...and bringing some mud along with it...

Good evening, everyone. I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson.

And I'm chief meteorologist Ben Jones.

Frank, Leah... Even though we're seeing scenes like this in some spots around the coverage area... We are NOT in a state of severe weather right now.

Ben, thank you. We'll check in again later in the show.

New crime statistics from the Macon Police Department are in.

They show show that

In 2012, there were more than 1,000 fewer crimes than the previous year, making it the city's lowest crime total in almost two decades.



The Bibb County Sheriff's office released numbers that shows a similar trend...

Tom George broke down the statistics for you and spoke with the county's top cop on what they mean for the community.

Today, the Bibb County Sheriff's Department released these numbers ... Showing crime in the county dropped by more than 9 percent in 2012...

Commercial burglaries were were the biggest drop ... going down almost 30 percent ... Home buglaries were down almost 16 percent ... People robbed... down 20 percent .... One of the only areas to rise were business robberies, but Lt. Sean DeFoe that number may be inflated because one location, the X-mart Adult Store was robbed eight times.

< But possibly the biggest statistic to come out of the report is the county's high solve rates ... Nationally, less than half of all personal crimes are solved ... But in Bibb county, 64 percent of those crimes were solved...>

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis says that's in part due to good investigations...

< You know the law enforcement is doing a good job, Macon Police, the Sheriff's office that whenever situations like this happen, that arrests are made, suspects are identified quickly and arrests are made fairly quickly, so I hope that the word is getting out that if you're going to engage in this type of activity that you're gonna get found out and we're going to make the arrest.>

And with strong trends in both Bibb County and the City Macon, Sheriff David Davis says he hopes to continue the best practices when both departments merge next year... Under one consolidated government.

In Macon, Tom George 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

The report from the City of Macon showed a slight increase in rapes and homicides, but big drops in burglary and theft ...

Their solve rate was 65 percent, which is also higher than the national average and around the same as Bibb County.

One notable difference between the city and county was arson, which dropped in the city, but jumped by 50 percent in the county.

Tonight... the president is expected to deliver a State of the Union speech that the White House describes as "heavy on jobs and the economy."

But he's also suspected to touch on gun violence.

The police officer shot fifteen times at a Sikh Temple will be in attendance...

So will the mother of a teenager who performed with her school at the Inauguration... and was shot to death a few days later... after being mistaken for a gang member.

So.. in our web poll today.. We asked you... How is the state of this country...compared to one year ago?

Just 11 percent of you who responded say better... 72 percent say worse...and about 17 percent say... No noticeable difference.

So... with some level of dissatisfaction in this poll at least... what would you like to hear in the State of the Union?

Frank Malloy...and Georgia College Political Scientist Cliff Wilkinson are here to talk about... not just the message... but the tone we may pick up on tonight.

As we mentioned... the race for all seats in the consolidated government would be non-partisan... were that bill to pass.

Current Macon City council woman Elaine Lucas believes there's a place for her there.

She declared her candidacy for a seat on the new 9 member commission.

She says she'll run for the District Three seat.

That position covers most of east Macon and parts of south Macon... Including the Sofkee area which is located by the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

Lucas says... After 24 years on council... She still has a lot of ideas to move Macon and Bibb County forward.

<I pledge to you that same hard, assertive work ethic, that same commitment to you, that same devotion, that same putting nobody ahead of you spirit that I h ave brought to you over the years, I promise you that same kind of work, that same kind of commitment>

She also announced her efforts to add more recreation areas and educational outlets.

Lucas is the first person to make a campaign announcement for district three.

You may have been faced with this before... You're headed downtown for an event and have to pay to park in a private parking lot.

But what if that business doesn't have a license...to sell off spaces?

A viewer asked us this question... so Jennifer Moulliet found out.

Ray Brake says he was headed to The Macon City Auditorium to see Jerry Seinfeld earlier this month...and searching for a parking spot... When he came across this lot.

Off Poplar Street... right across the street from St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

<we pulled in the parking lot and a young lady came over and said it's ten dollars to park and she handed us the little coupon to put in the windshield she said put this in your wind shield and you'll be fine. >

The lot is owned by Tony Widner.. Owner of Widner And Associates on Poplar Street.

<saturday morning I got the little ticket out of the car to throw it away and I realized it looked like something that had just been sorta made out of paper on a copy machine and I thought did I get ripped off or not so I thought i'd ask>

Widner.. The owner of the parking lot declined to go on camera... But did tell us he gave permission to a company named "Premiere Parking" to charge people to park in his lot of select events at the City Auditorium.

But Widner would not give us the name of the person running Premiere Parking.

We spoke to Macon's City attorney... Judd Drake who says it's doesn't matter if they were given permission..

He says there's no city business license for a company named Premiere Parking.

Drake says the city is looking into the situation.

I asked Drake whether....if you owned the property... you rent out parking spaces on your own lot.

The city attorney says that's not their focus.

He says they're concentrating on the fact that an unregistered business is allegedly operating the lot.

According to the city's website to apply for a business license you must Verify the business is in the ctiy

Obtain approval from Planning and Zoning for your location

complete an Occupation Tax Return form

If in a commercial location your business must get signed inspections from fees and fire prevention

an Affidavit verifying your company's status

and an E-verify affidavit.

And Drake says...none of that happened for Premiere Parking.

Jennifer Moulliet 13WMAZ eyewitness news.

Drake says the city intends to check on "premiere parking" during an event this weekend at the city auditorium.

Tonight... Look to Eyewitness News for all of your State of the Union Coverage...

The speech starts at nine... and we will carry it on 13WMAZ...

Also watch for coverage on 13WMAZ-dot-com and our mobile aps...

Plus... Keep up with facebook and twitter.

Then at 11... Watch us on Eyewitness News as we bring response from your Georgia congressmen.

All that... Tonight... starting at nine.


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