CANTON — Police Chief Mark Mitchell said at the Thursday meeting of the City Council that nearly half of the city’s shoplifting cases in March came from Walmart locations.

The average price of shoplifted items was $77.03. The Canton Police Department will be taking extra efforts to make sure retail shops are under watch at peak times. Efforts include the use of the agency’s decoy car while available at Walmart, Kohl’s and Belk in hopes that it will be a deterrent and reduce calls for service.

The crime report also stated that there were 2,146 calls for service, 73 arrests, 536 traffic citations and 124 accidents with the only trend being that most accidents occurred on Fridays.

Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather updated the council on the status of Canton’s 2018 year in regards to calls for service, fire activity, EMS and growth to be seen in 2019.

Prather highlighted that fire activity was down 8 percent from 2017 but EMS was up 10 percent from 2017.

“That was the largest increase in the county,” Prather said. “Canton really bumped our numbers up in EMS calls.”

The goals for the coming year are, graduating 48 new firefighters, upgrading to an 800 mHz radio system, planning for the expansion of the CCFES Fire Training Center and the planning and construction for Fire Station 9 which is hoped to be as close to downtown Canton as possible.

Other business included the approval of Atkins-North America as the engineer on the Old Ball Ground Sewer and Etowah Trail Extension project not to exceed $575,558. The task will include design, permitting and construction for around 7,000 feet of sewer between Juniper Street and the Culwell lift station and then from Heritage Park to Boling Park.

And the council discussed getting new signage to stop smoking in downtown Canton. Mayor Gene Hobgood brought up the idea which City Manager Billy Peppers responded to by saying that city officials have ordered brick signs to be installed in the ground to as to not have too much signage around town, but to also get the word out that Canton is a “smoke free city.” There was also the suggestion of putting plaques on benches.

The next Canton City Council meeting will be held at 110 Academy St. on May 2 at 6 p.m.

Born and raised in the Canton/ Woodstock area, a graduate of Reinhardt University and a lover of life.

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