08/22/10 — Overall crime down in Goldsboro, Wayne County

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Overall crime down in Goldsboro, Wayne County

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 22, 2010 1:50 AM

Overall crime in Goldsboro and Wayne County was down in 2009 compared to 2008.

According to the North Carolina Department of Justice, reported crimes in 2009 were down 9.1 percent in the county, with violent crimes down 8 percent and property crime down 9.3 percent.

Area law enforcement officials said the decrease across the county is always positive.

"Obviously I think it's good," Goldsboro police Chief Tim Bell said. "With the economy like it is, everyone thinks crime is worse, but the numbers improved in 2009."

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders agreed.

"The violent crime report is down, and we're always happy to see that," he said. "Crime rates overall have decreased, and we can attribute that to some of the programs we implemented, but also the hard work of the staff investigators and deputies out here working."

Violent crimes reported to the Goldsboro Police Department in 2009 totaled 321, down from 330 violent crimes reported in 2008, according to the state Department of Justice. Violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes reported in 2008 totaled 2,657 which is down from 2,869 reported in 2008. Property crimes include burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

Although the number of violent crimes is down overall in Goldsboro, there were eight murders in 2009, up from five in 2008; nine rapes in 2009, up from four in 2008; and 212 aggravated assaults in 2009, up from 204 in 2008. In contrast, there were 92 robberies in 2009, down from 117 in 2008.

Bell said it's hard to predict why murders were up in 2009.

"Nobody wants to see that happen. If I don't ever have to go to another murder scene again, it would be fine by me," he said.

The city appears to be on track to have a lower murder rate in 2010, with only three reported this year.

Bell said a decrease in robberies is typically directly related to who is currently in jail or prison since often one person can commit several robberies.

Although Bell said the 2010 crime report numbers are similar to the 2009 statistics, he expects the new Intelligence Section at the police department to improve communication and to overlap coverage.

"With the (police department) being open 24 hours, there is so much information coming in that we want to go to all departments. We want patrol to know what investigations is working on. If they have a breaking and entering suspect, patrol can keep an eye on the area," he said.

In the county, violent crimes reported to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office in 2009 totaled 147, down from 173 in 2008. The number of murders in 2009 dropped to three from the four that were reported in 2008. Rapes increased to two in 2009 from one in 2008. Reported robberies decreased to 29 in 2009 from 32 in 2008. And reported aggravated assault decreased to 113 in 2009 from 136 in 2008.

Property crimes reported in 2009 were 1,912, down from 2,097 in 2008. Larceny and motor vehicle theft were both down in 2009, but burglary increased from 817 in 2008 to 857 in 2009.

Winders said although the property crimes were down in 2009, he said they "do seem to be on the rise this year, partially due to the economy."