08/16/09 — County's crime index rate drops

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County's crime index rate drops

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 16, 2009 2:00 AM

The North Carolina Department of Justice State Bureau of Investigation's recently released 2008 uniform crime reporting data shows a slightly lower index crime rate in Wayne County.

The index crime rate includes the total number of violent crimes and the total number of property crimes.

In the county, the crime rate decreased from 5,276.9 offenses per 100,000 people to 5,271.3 offenses per 100,000 people.

In actual numbers, there were a total of 5,908 offenses in the county in 2007 and in 2008 there were 5,885, about 23 less.

While the total index crime rate was down, violent crimes increased in 2008 while property crimes decreased. The violent crime rate rose from 467.1 offenses per 100,000 people in 2007 to 486.4 in 2008. The property crime rate decreased from 4,809.8 offenses per 100,000 people in 2007 to 4,784.9 in 2008.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said while it's good the property crimes were reported down in 2008, he's not confident they will remain down when the 2009 numbers come out.

"The property crimes will probably be up in 2009. If you recall, we had all those copper thefts," he said.

He added that the violent crime increase is likely due to an increased amount of domestic violence calls.

"A number of the violent crimes are crimes on people who know each other," he said.

Additionally, since 2008, the sheriff's office decreased their number of deputies from 87 to 85 due to budget restraints.

"It's not that we don't need them," he said. "We're still lagging behind. According to population statistics, we should have more deputies."

Winders said he'd like to add more deputies to his staff and possibly pursue grants that require a county financial match, but is uncertain the county would be able to put up the money.

In surrounding counties, Duplin's index crime rate decreased from 3,923 to 3,607.1 offenses per 100,000 people; Greene's rate increased from 3,379.3 to 3,458; Johnston's rate increased from 3,453.2 to 3,453.4; Sampson's rate increased from 3,335.4 to 3,594.7; and Wilson's rate decreased from 4,958.3 to 4,310.3.