Raleigh police chief says increase in homicides keeps her up at night

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Every time someone is killed in the City of Raleigh, Police Chief Estella Patterson says she is immediately alerted -- day or night.

According to Patterson, that has happened 13 times so far this year.

It's an increase of five more people dead compared to this time last year.

"Very disturbing," Patterson said. "Anytime you have anyone who loses a life at the hands of someone else, that is disturbing to me. That is something that keeps me up at night."

This week, a teen was seriously wounded after being shot while at a convenience store on New Bern Avenue.

Patterson said officers are actively looking for the shooter, and they are receiving tips from the community.

"Any small bits of information, we will take," She said.

Aggravated assaults involving guns are up from last year.

According to RPD, police are getting more stolen guns off the street.

Patterson is urging gun owners to keep their guns stored and locked away from would-be thieves.

The chief told ABC11 that violent crime is happening all across the city, but in communities made up predominantly of Black and Latino residents, victims are dying at a higher rate.

Right now, she is working with federal partners and deploying officers to areas known for repeat violent offenders:

Neighborhoods such as those around New Bern Avenue, Poole Road, and Capitol Boulevard.

"I have set a goal of reducing our violent crime by 15 percent by the end of the year over where we were last year. We are putting all of our resources toward that," said Patterson, "We need the community to help us in our efforts to combat this violence."

Patterson said she supports the concept of paying people to be "violence interrupters."

It is something the city is exploring with the NAACP.

Staffing also remains a concern. The department is down 168 officers.

The chief hopes recruiting drives will help, and a city proposal for pay raises and bonuses will improve morale and staffing challenges.
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