Support working against criminals

Sep. 12, 2013 @ 08:35 PM

Community involvement and strong work ethic by police and sheriff’s deputies are helping combat crime in Vance County.

That was the assessment of Sheriff Peter White in reflection of crime trends released by Roy Cooper, the state attorney general.

Rates in Henderson and Vance County were parallel to the state trend – a drop in overall crime and property crime, and an increase in violent crime.

“I think it is a couple of things,” White said. “One is the formation of the community watch groups that are paying attention. Some are more active than others, but more citizens in general are also active and that is having a tremendous impact.”

Community Watch groups have more than tripled since 2007, when former police chief Keith Sidwell arrived. He retired in May. Marcus Barrow, the interim chief, wrote in an email to The Dispatch working with federal programs to remove criminals has paid significant dividends.

“We are optimistic that our continued success in the federal prosecution of violent offenders and other intervention techniques will help us see a continued decline,” Barrow wrote.

White said that he sees a strong work ethic by Henderson police officers and his deputies as the second arm to meet the challenge of driving crime rates further down.

“The officers and deputies are working very hard at it,” White said. “I keep stressing that we can’t do this alone, but with citizen help, we can keep plugging away at it.”

Ray Griffin, Henderson’s city manager now in search of Sidwell’s replacement, noted recent work against the Money Gang Mob and said he sees a job well done.

“I could not be more impressed,” Griffin said. “To Marcus (Barrow) I say that my hope is you keep that effort up, and continue to make our streets safer.”

In Henderson, Barrow reported seven murder cases in 2012 compared to five in 2011; and 94 aggravated assault cases in 2012 compared to 76 in 2011.

Barrow said rape and robbery cases were steady compared to the previous year.

The city violent crimes total was 181, a 12.5 percent increase from 161.

Theft totals for Henderson show 1,700 burglaries and larcenies for 2012, compared to 1,885 the previous year, a decrease of 185 incidents for a 10 percent decline.

Statistics provided by Cooper’s office broke county totals down into total crime incident rates, violent crimes and property crimes, per 100,000 population.

The population of Vance County is about 45,000. Granville County has about 60,000 population and Warren County about 20,000. Their rates for respective crimes per 100,000 population were:

• Violent crimes: Vance 513.6, down from 615.7 in 2011; Granville 337.5, down from 400.8; Warren 280.5, up from 228.2.

• Property crimes: Vance 6,576.2, down from 7,691.8 in 2011; Granville 2,984.6, down from 3,447.6; Warren, 2,605.7, down from 3,941.8.

Violent crimes were up 0.6 percent statewide and property crimes down 4.9 percent.

State trend analyses do not include percentage changes for small crime numbers because they are seen as anecdotal unless measuring instances higher than 200, according to Cooper’s report.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.