BURLINGTON, N.C. – From homicides to shots fired into homes, Burlington police have been busy this year trying to fight an increase of violent crimes in the city.
“We, like many other cities across the nation, were experiencing a slight uptick in gun violence,” said Captain Chad Slaughter.
It’s a problem police worked on with community members to try to solve and usually got the same answer.
“Some of that input was ‘We need more police officers’,” Slaughter said.
This month, Burlington police won a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice worth nearly $1 million to hire six new officers.
The extra staff will allow the department to form a community crime abatement team known as “CCAT” using veteran officers.
“The focus will be on violent crimes itself,” Slaughter said.
From January to October 2015, Burlington police got nearly 239 calls for shots heard.
This year, over the same 10-month time frame, police say that number jumped to 375.
From January to October 2015, police also had 29 reports of shootings into homes or into property. This year, that number is at 34.
Slaughter says the increases in crime put a strain on the department’s resources.
“We had to increase our staffing, bringing folks in on their days off, volunteers too,” he said.
Slaughter says the CCAT unit will work alongside the violent crime, domestic violence, and special victims units.
“It’s going to be a tremendous amount of help in helping to reduce these specific violent crimes,” Slaughter said.
The Burlington Police Department is one of eight police departments in the state to be awarded a Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Grant this year from the Department of Justice.