Spike in violent crimes on West Market Street in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO N.C. -- There is more violent crime this year on West Market Street in Greensboro. Police say a months-long crime spree is happening to individuals, homes and businesses on this stretch of road.

Greensboro police say robberies, aggravated assaults and burglaries are mostly driving the high numbers. Violent crime, property crime and other crimes are all higher in the first half of this year compared to 2016.

Greensboro police call it a "hot spot" for violent crime -- the stretch of West Market Street between Green Valley Road and Friend Way Road.

"People who are bent on doing something criminal realize, they pick up on it, because there's so many people coming and going, that I may have an opportunity," Sgt. Korey Johnson said.

Police say crime usually picks up in the summer, but this area has seen dozens more since January.

"Robberies, a lot of violent crimes, are crimes of opportunity," Johnson said.

The Great Stops convenience store on West Market Street at Hiltin Place was robbed four times this summer -- the most recent, early Wednesday morning.

Similar crimes are popping up along this stretch of road.

Greensboro police break down crimes into different categories. Part 1 violent crimes include robberies and aggravated assaults. On this stretch of West Market Street, those crimes went up from 10 to 21, or 110 percent, compared to the same time period in 2016.

Part 1 property crimes include burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Those crimes went up from 88 to 110 total, or 25 percent.

Part 2 crimes, which include crimes such as vandalism, simple assault and drug related offenses, went up about 13 percent.

But officers don't necessarily think these crimes are linked to each other.

"Sometimes when offenses hit in the city, they become clusters," Johnson said. "And we don't know sometimes until months or weeks after that we do have some kind of correlation."

They also don't know why this stretch of West Market Street is seeing more crime this year than in years before. Police say it can't be narrowed down to one, or even a few, different factors.

"The type of area it is, what kind of resources, things of that nature, are there? What makes this location attractive? There's a lot of moving pieces," Johnson said.

Police do know they need to do something about it. They're increasing patrols in the area and using crime mapping data to look at when and where these crimes are happening to prevent them from continuing in the second half of the year.

"You may think that sometimes it happens in the mornings or weekends, and it could be Tuesday and Wednesday night that we're having the big issue," Johnson said.