Increased crackdown on crime spells good news for Rainsville residents

RAINSVILLE, Ala. -- An increased crackdown on crime in Rainsville led to some changes that spell good news for residents and bad news for criminals.

Rainsville Police Chief Kevin Smith says the city has a reputation these days. "The reputation has gotten around that don't come to Rainsville to mess up because you'll go to jail."

Rainsville has drug issues like anywhere else, and drugs and crime directly go hand in hand. Rainsville police officers and detectives are cracking down on those crimes, and that's changed things. "We have crime that occurs that we've been able to successfully close, investigations. We don't close them all, but we are well above the national average," Smith said.

From 2015 to 2017 the number of reports increased, but the number of those cases closed drastically increased, going from 57% closed in 2015 to nearly 77% closed in 2017.

The department has two full-time detectives and 14 sworn officers. Chief Smith says they're being proactive rather than reactive, and now they're starting to see crimes across the board slack off. "It's just good old-fashioned policing. The officers get out here and they really work hard. We are really stepping up enforcement on drug interdiction as far as working Highway 35 and 75 and working our neighborhoods."

That sends a message to the community: "We take the cases seriously. We care about these cases, and we want a high closure rate."

It's also a message to criminals: even though the department is on the small side, it's cracking down.

Chief Smith says citizen tips and the officers and detectives working together widely contribute to that success.