DALTON, Ga. — With a state shelter-in-place order expiring for most Georgians on May 1, people started getting back out out of their homes, and that was reflected in an increase in traffic accidents, according to the Dalton Police Department.

"Things are starting to open back up, and that's showing up in our numbers," Assistant Chief Chris Crossen told the Dalton Public Safety Commission on Tuesday.

Officers responded to 94 crashes in May, up from 59 in April.

"I would advise people to stay off the streets between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.," said commission Chairman Bill Weaver.

Some 27% of reported accidents took place in that time period, the largest for any time period. Walnut Avenue had the most accidents, 17%, followed by Glenwood Avenue with 11%.

Rear-end collisions were the most common type of accident in May, accounting for 34.04% of all accidents. And the most common contributing factor in these accidents was following too closely, which was a factor in 22% of the accidents the department responded to.

For the year to date, Part 1 crimes, which must be reported to the FBI, are down in Dalton. Crossen said the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and restrictions on economic activities aimed to combat the disease likely played a role in that decrease.

Part 1 crimes, defined as aggravated assault, arson, burglary, felony larceny, homicide, motor vehicle theft, rape and robbery, are down 23.3% for the year to date.

Part 2 crimes, basically everything that isn't a Part 1 crime, are down 13.5% for the year to date.

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