Local police release crime rates for 2020

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 7:44 PM EST
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EASTERN CAROLINA (WITN) - Police department leaders in the East are looking back on the year 2020, reviewing their end-of-year crime statistics.

Greenville, Kinston, Washington, and New Bern police departments released their stats to WITN, and departments report vast differences in comparing their data.

Some departments’ findings might surprise you because even though people were encouraged to stay at home, crime was down in some cities yet slightly higher in others.

Greenville Police announced violent crime went down 10%, and property crime decreased nine percent. However, there was an increase in homicides.

GPD also says robberies were down 22%, aggravated assaults and burglaries were down 11%.

With more people opting to stay at home and work from home, most would think crime would be down for all departments, but it’s not the case everywhere.

Washington Police Chief Stacy Drakeford says their crime increased in some categories.

“We really didn’t know how this pandemic would affect us,” Drakeford said, “Most people thought it went down, but it actually went up in a few categories.”

And Major Jenee Spencer with Kinston Police says the same goes for their department.

“We’ve seen a slight increase in our overall crime at 4.7 percent,” Spencer said, “So, to us, an increase such as that is not really a major increase—no more than you would see maybe during the holidays or during the summertime.”

Spencer says the significant increases were in the areas of disorderly conduct and disturbances.

Drakeford says toward the beginning of the year, crime was down, but there was a change by the end of the year.

“From March until December, our numbers were a little bit more than they previously were in 2019 overall, but not much,” Drakeford said, “Particularly in the aggravated assault areas. That number went up.”

Drakeford says officers also had to adjust how they police to protect officers and the public, such as handling cases over the phone. Spencer says their officers had to adjust too.

“We prevented officers from going into people’s houses unless it was absolutely necessary,” Drakeford said, “Now that we have the appropriate amount of PPE, we’re actually going back to doing regular police work again.”

And Spencer says their officers are ready for some normalcy in 2021.

“Our officers love to get out and play basketball, interact with the kids in the community. We like doing community engagements, whether it be coffee with a cop or having a little cookout for some neighborhood kids,” Spencer said.

Drakeford says they’re going to work harder next year to decrease their crime numbers.

New Bern Police also released crime stats, and says overall crime has gone down highlighting their lowest end-of-year stats in the past three years.

In 2019, NPD’s index crime report was 1,360. Last year, it went down to 1,126.

Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman is discussing the city’s crime statistics in detail on Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

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