Kinston city officials brainstorm ways to stop the violence and crime

Kinston city officials brainstorm ways to stop the violence and crime
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 11:43 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) -The last several months have been hectic for the Kinston police department following a number of violent crimes.

There were three separate shootings alone during the first week of July.

According to the Kinston police department, there have been eight homicides and twenty people injured by gunfire between January and July of 2022.

Kinston city manager Rhonda Barwick said the uptick is often a result of people with unnecessary time on their hands.

Police now say they’re seeing an increase in vehicle thefts.

“It does historically seem to increase for us and other communities in the summertime,” Barwick said. “When people are out, days are longer, and they’re just getting into a little bit more mischief than they normally would.”

The city is searching for a new police chief following the retirement of longtime officer Tim Dilday back in 2021. Jenee Spencer has served as the interim chief since.

Mayor Don Hardy said the potential chief would play a significant part in stopping the violence.

“When you start to talk about a police chief you want to make sure that they have all the characteristics that your community is looking for, your council is looking for, governor bodies are looking for as a whole,” said Hardy. “It definitely paints a picture, a pivotal role that they will be playing.”

The increase in crime has some worried for their safety, but Barwick said creating change is going to require a community effort.

“I don’t think any one person can turn it around, I think it’s a group, it’s a good team, and certainly the community plays a key role,” Barwick said. “They share what they see, they share what they know. If we can get these folks, these few folks who are causing our community to suffer these crimes, we can get them where they need to be.”

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