Department looks into probation violations

The two suspects accused of killing Eve Carson were both on probation. One had never met with his officer; the other's file was updated the day of his arrest.

New numbers show more probation violators are being arrested, but some may still be slipping through the cracks.

Many suspects making their first appearances inside the jailhouse courtroom Thursday faced a judge for violating their probation.

What worries many people, is that they were picked up while committing other crimes.

Allen Smith Jr. is charged with robbing nine people in 13 days in downtown Raleigh.

Matt Taylor says he was one of them --forced at gunpoint to take out money from an ATM.

"I was definitely scared. It's certainly a scary situation having a gun to your head," Taylor said.

A situation he wouldn't have had to experience had Smith been picked up for violating his probation.

Court documents show he failed to meet with his probation officer in January.

An order for his arrest was not issued until three months later on April 8. The robbery spree began April 19.

"If you ask me someone is not doing their job. That's terrible," Taylor said.

"It always concerns us when someone on probation commits a crime," said Keith Acree with the Department of Correction.

Acree says he cannot comment on specific cases, but he says temporary management changes and auditing teams are reviewing all cases in Wake and Durham Counties.

"Making sure we're paying attention to red flags, responding to things when they happen," Acree said. "It's looking for things and trying to prevent crimes from happening before they happen."

From March to April the number of probation violators arrested by the Department of Correction jumped from 98 to 136 in Wake County alone.

But the number was higher in February, before any changes were made.

Just last week the Attorney General asked the Department of Correction to put probation information in a statewide database, so if authorities come across someone who's violating their probation, they'd know right away.

Acree says the department is willing to do that, and they are trying to figure out technically what needs to be done to make it happen.

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