02/27/06 — Thefts up, violence down in city

View Archive

Thefts up, violence down in city

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 27, 2006 1:56 PM

Crime rose by 4 percent in 2005 in Goldsboro. Police Chief Tim Bell attributed much of the increase to the economy, including soaring gas prices.

Most violent crime declined last year, he said. The overall increase resulted from more armed robbery and larceny cases, including gas drive-offs.

"Four percent is not much," Bell said. "I think we did a good job to hold our own. We already have a good start in 2006."

Robberies, including bank holdups, were up 24 percent, a significant increase, Bell admitted.

"We had some serious robberies and bank robberies," the chief said, "but we were very aggressive in working those cases."

With the help of Special Agent Doug Rambaud of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the police cleared several bank holdups. Bell said some were connected with other robberies, including a bank holdup in Mount Olive.

Bell said many of those charged in bank robberies will be indicted in federal court.

Larceny cases increased 12 percent in 2005.

"I attribute that to the economy," Bell said. "Many were gas drive-offs. We had a spike in gas drive-offs when the price went up to more than $3 a gallon."

The combination of armed robberies and misdemeanor larcenies "really boosted our crime totals," the chief said.

Many other serious crimes decreased. Bell saw that drop as a positive.

Aggravated assaults were down 14 percent, misdemeanor assault dropped 7 percent, burglaries and break-ins declined 9 percent. Bell called those numbers excellent.

Violent crimes, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, were down 4 percent, but property crimes, including misdemeanor larcenies, were up 7 percent.

Goldsboro police cleared about 30 percent of its cases in 2005 with arrests. That's been about the city's average for several years. The clearance rate is about 6 percent higher than the state average.

More than one-third of all property reported stolen last year was recovered -- 36 percent compared to the state average of 29 percent.

Calls for service decreased from 49,544 in 2004 to 49,228 in 2005. Traffic collisions increased from 2,063 to 2,089 in 2005. The number of arrests dropped from 4,420 to 4,367. But 10,670 citations were issued in 2005, a 24 percent hike over the 2004 total of 8,561.

Bell noted that police made 416 arrests last year for driving while impaired, a 21 percent increase from the 2004 total of 343. The chief attributed the increase to the fact his officers are better trained to investigate possible DWI cases.

Police continue to get complaints about speeders in residential neighborhoods.

"If we aren't running radar in a neighborhood, we will work that area soon," Bell said.