Summer crime data shows some communities seeing decrease in violence

Samantha Kummerer Image
Friday, September 16, 2022
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While gun violence increased across North Carolina this summer, data shows not all crime went up in local communities.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- While gun violence increased across North Carolina this summer, data shows not all crime went up in local communities.

The ABC11 I-Team requested summer crime data from major law enforcement agencies across central North Carolina.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office reported deputies responded to 6% more incidents this summer than in 2021.

Overall, the most notable upticks in incidents related to weapon violations, assaults and sex offenses. The county saw a decrease in drug offenses and larceny. Some of the most violent crimes (homicide, rape and robbery) remained at the same level as last summer. The Sheriff's Office reported just one murder between May and September.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office also reported a decrease in almost every crime. Only more incidents of embezzlement, arson, burglary and damage to property were reported this summer. Overall calls for service were down 7%, according to data provided by the agency.

Homicides in Fayetteville were also down by 51% this year, based on data provided by the police department. The city saw a reduction in robberies, larceny and weapon violations as well.

Over in Durham County, aggravated assaults doubled, according to the Durham County Sheriff's Office. While still relatively low incidents, the county did experience more murders (2), sex offenses (3), robberies (8) and burglaries (62) this summer compared to last summer.

The City of Durham reported the lowest number of violent crime incidents compared to the past two summers. Violent crime dropped 7%, according to Durham Police Department data. A big factor driving the downward trend was 47% fewer homicides reported. Robbery and rape still saw an uptick.

Property crimes trending higher

Property crimes are also on the rise in the city with a 21% spike in motor vehicle thefts driving the increase along with a 4% increase in overall larceny reports.

Durham resident Lisa Schuster experienced a car break-in this August. She said home cameras caught people riffling through her and her son's car early one morning.

"They had gone through a lot of people's cars. They had started at one part of the property," she recalled. "We didn't get anything stolen, my parents live a mile down the road, and like a night or two later, they actually got some things stolen out of their car."

She said this happened after a year of living in their townhouse community without any incidents. While Shuster, fortunately, didn't have anything taken, she now takes extra measures in locking her vehicles as she said the experience did leave her feeling unsettled.

Working for change

Jessica Burroughs, a Durham resident who is also a senior campaign director for MomsRising, said she is hopeful the crime trends across the state, specifically violent crimes, continue to trend down.

"I'm hopeful. Yeah, absolutely. And that's why I do the work that I do because I'm hopeful that we can make change happen," she said.

Burroughs works with stakeholders and other community advocacy groups on targeting various issues in communities, including gun violence.

"My biggest fear is what too many moms have already experienced: too many moms and dads and parents and grandparents and neighbors and friends losing a child to gun violence. That is my biggest fear," she said.

Burroughs is hoping as communities continue to seek ways to drive crime down, state and local leaders will consider funding community violence interruption programs.

"There are some amazing community violence interruption programs that really are offering hope to address gun violence and make communities safer," she said.

She pointed to these programs already underway in Greensboro and Durham. Based on data from the Gun Violence Archive, both cities reported a decrease in shootings this summer.

The Raleigh Police Department said it was unable to provide data specifically for the summer months.