There are unfortunate stories of crime FOX8 covers day after day.
The official law enforcement term: shooting into an occupied dwelling. You probably think of them as drive-bys. Whatever you call them, there are more and more happening. FOX8 On Your Side combed through the numbers and what we found is staggering.
FOX8 compared the reported incidents from 2012 through 2016.
Winston-Salem saw a 64 percent increase in reports of shootings into an occupied dwelling.
In Burlington, a 200 percent increase.
It was even worse in Greensboro -- a 246 percent increase
And in High Point, FOX8 On Your Side found, in only four years, there was a 467 percent increase in these drive-by shootings. Since January, there have already been 56. While in 2012, the total for the year was just nine.
Jim Summey works to stop these shootings. As a community activist and executive director of High Point Community Against Violence, Summey talks with homeowners on streets that are the scene of drive-bys.
It’s something that Ramona Allen experienced. Her 14-year-old son joined a gang in Burlington and one day in 2006, she received the news she most feared.
“My son was dead,” Allen said. “Every day we ask ourselves, is there something we could have said, done? Were we too strict or not strict enough?”
Now she and her husband help with the Burlington Police Department’s community watch program, encouraging neighbors to contact officers to report what they know.
“What happens to the victims? To the families? Is it fair that someone else has to suffer because of your silence?” she said.
That silence allows the violence to continue.
The U.S. Department of Justice found that areas covered by neighborhood watch programs experienced a 26 percent reduction in crime. Officers know neighborhood watches work because it doesn’t rely on changing the criminal’s behavior -- instead it reduces the opportunity for crime.
“It takes a community as a whole to combat this. It’s not just us,” said Capt. Chris Gaddis, with the Burlington Police Department.
Authorities and community groups encourage people to open their eyes to the problem, be a part of the solution and report crimes.