Crime on the rise in Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE Just about everybody who lives in Fayetteville has serious concerns about the city's rising crime rate.

Councilman Bobby Hurst says part of the problem has to do with having enough officers on the job in a city that just annexed 40,000 additional residents.

"I think also the strain on law enforcement has been the court system," City Councilman Bobby Hurst said. "As you have read about the low bond rates that have been set and criminals are back out on the street."

Robberies are up 31 percent, while aggravated assaults have also shot up by 21 percent. Burglaries are up too at 9.5 percent.

"The numbers are up, because we feel frustration because we're a very proactive police department," Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine said.

He says there are a number of reasons, including last year's bad economy.

"There are various causes for that -- transient population, various abuses to either drugs or alcohol," Bergamine said.

City Councilman D.J. Haire hopes the Chief comes up with a plan to get officers into neighborhoods when the calls are not a matter of life and death.

"You can get someone or a policeman into the neighborhood if there's a gun, if there's death of a rape or something," Haire said. "But what can we do to increase the time, shorten the time in getting folks there if there's a suspicious call."

But Bergamine says there is a bright spot. Crime statistics for the month of January of this year are lower than they were for January of last year. He says he hope's that's a trend that continues.

Chief Bergamine gets the chance to present his crime prevention plan to the city council in April.

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