Family Justice Center in the works for Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro Police Chief Ken Miller says crime in 2013 was statistically the lowest in Greensboro since 1976.

Wednesday, he released preliminary crime numbers from last year.

Aggravated assaults and robberies were down, and the number of rapes reported was about the same with an increase of three reports.

There were 27 total homicides in 2013, which was and increase from 21 in 2012.

Property crimes were down almost five percent overall, reported Chief Miller. He said there were fewer auto thefts and burglaries, but police investigated more than 3,000 cases of shoplifting. Chief Miller said that was a 14.3% increase from 2012.

He also pointed out the need to address repeat offenders and continue efforts for a Family Justice Center in Guilford County.

The facility would be a one-stop-shop for adults or children who are victims of crime or abuse.

Captain Karen Walters pointed out the center has been in the works for about three years, but they hope to open it in the next six months.

“Chief Miller brought it up because he knows the importance of that project. Especially with the fact that we’ve had eleven homicides this year for domestic violence. It shows the need to go ahead and push through on this new initiative,” said Captain Walters, heading up the effort for the Greensboro P.D.

She said the Center will include partners from local colleges like A&T and UNCG, along with people willing to offer legal help from Elon Law. Cone Health would have a role offering healthcare in the center, and advocates from groups like Family Service of the Piedmont could protect and educate victims.

“It’s safe place it’s a place they know they’re going to get the help they need all at once instead of several times with different agencies,” explained Shay Harger, Director of Victim Services with Family Service of the Piedmont.

Last year their agency received 3,000 crisis calls, a number Harger says highlights the need for as much victim assistance as possible in Guilford County.

“When we break the silence and we start talking about it as a community? That’s when things start changing,” she insisted.

In his presentation Chief Miller said, “We do not make the city safer alone. We make the city safer in partnership with our community.”

They hope a Family Justice Center will eventually decrease the number of repeat and violent offenders in the county.