Raleigh Police Chief to Increase Patrols to Reduce Violent Crime
In response to an increase in violent crime, Raleigh Police will conduct more patrols and install more cameras in parts of the city to see “repeated calls for violence,” the Raleigh Police Chief said Wednesday, Estella Patterson.
Patterson spoke about his strategy to tackle violent crime like homicide and aggravated assault at a press conference outside the Northwest District of the Raleigh Police Department.
She also discussed the number of crimes that occurred between July 1 and September 30, as part of a new initiative to share and analyze crime statistics on a quarterly basis. Patterson was named the new police chief this summer and was sworn in on Aug. 12. Wednesday was his first quarterly crime briefing.
Raleigh recorded 12 homicides in the third quarter of 2021, compared to nine homicides recorded in the third quarter of 2020 and four during the same period in 2019.
âI believe what we are going through with homicides, unfortunately, is part of a disturbing national trend based on increasing gun violence leading to loss of lives,â Patterson said.
Four of the 12 homicides took place at bars, nightclubs or raffle venues, Patterson said, prompting police to “take a closer look at the activity there and the type of people who frequent them “.
Patterson said police arrested suspects in 11 of 12 murder investigations.
âWe intend to prosecute you if you commit a violent crime in our city,â Patterson said. “We don’t tolerate it, we don’t accept it.”
Increase in aggravated assault
The number of aggravated assaults also increased in the third quarter, compared to the same periods in 2020 and 2019. This is a more serious assault charge under North Carolina law that often involves serious injury or the use of a deadly weapon.
There were 284 aggravated assaults between July and the end of September. In contrast, there were 257 aggravated assaults in the third quarter of 2020 and 239 in the third quarter of 2019.
Of the aggravated assaults that occurred in the third quarter of this year, 134 involved firearms, 68 were related to calls for domestic violence and 19 involved minors with access to firearms.
To address the “growing problem” of firearms used by children, Raleigh Police are working with the Wake County Public School System to educate and discourage youth from engaging in violence, Patterson said.
Raleigh police officers also visited 46 elementary schools, speaking to fifth-graders about “making good life choices and being positive citizens,” she said.
Patterson said police needed help reaching more young people and asked community groups to partner with the department and provide training on gun awareness and anger management.
No more patrols, more cameras
To deal with the increase in violent crime, Patterson said the department will conduct more high-visibility patrols and seek to install more cameras in areas with higher rates of violence.
The department will also continue to work with community leaders, which Patterson says is “an important aspect of reducing crime.”
One of the areas where police are reallocating resources, including an increase in patrolling, are bars, nightclubs and other nightlife establishments, said Major Rico Boyce, who oversees the patrol services.
The goal is to “be proactive in arresting individuals who may be in possession of an illegal firearm, before they even get there,” Boyce said.
Boyce did not provide specific locations for the increased patrols, noting that the rise in violent crime is occurring throughout the city. He said the areas with bars and nightclubs, where police focus their patrolling efforts, lie along the city’s “main corridors”.
Increase in vehicle theft
In addition to violent crime, Raleigh also saw an increase in property crime this quarter, particularly vehicle thefts and items stolen from vehicles, Patterson said.
During the third quarter of 2021, there were 307 vehicle thefts, compared to 273 during the same period in 2020 and 215 during the same period in 2019.
The third quarter of 2021 also saw 661 vehicle thefts, which Patterson said continues a “consistent trend” in recent years. In 79 of these incidents, firearms were stolen.
Patterson reminded car owners not to leave their vehicles unattended or running, or with spare keys or remotes inside. She also said people should avoid leaving items in their cars that can be easily seen.