FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Statistics put out by the Fayetteville Police Department show the city is seeing an alarming increases in crime rates over the past year.
The department says homicides are up by nine percent from 2021. There is also nearly a 10 percent increase in aggravated assaults and nearly 19 percent more property crimes.
At the latest city council meeting on Monday, officials acknowledged that an overwhelming supply of dangerous weapons up for sale is part of the problem.
"It's a national issue going on with the availability of not just buying things online, but buying things in the street," Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins said during the department's presentation.
However, the department adds that the total number of crimes against people and property declined from 2016 to 2021 by about 27 percent.
In a statement to ABC11, Chief Hawkins said in part:
"During that six-year period, our city has experienced significant strides in reducing crime, but we also understand that we will never get to a point of zero crime within the community."
Hawkins goes on to say the department has made strides in using technology to crack down on crime. New license plate reader technology has helped make almost 400 felony arrests and over 500 arrests overall.
This latest crime report comes as the city works to find new leadership for the police department. Chief Hawkins is stepping down in January. In a statement the city says:
"Through our search consultants, a number of highly-qualified candidates have been through a rigorous screening process and this week selected candidates will participate in an assessment center using community and professional assessors to evaluate skills, ability and aptitude."
Names of the applicants will not be released. However, the city plans to hold a community meeting with the police chief finalists in December.