High Point police chief says community involvement is helping solve crimes

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Two people charged with murder are off the streets of High Point and stood in front of a judge Monday afternoon. One of the suspects, a 16-year-old boy.

These are just two of the recent arrests involving homicides, drugs and violent crimes in High Point.

Police Chief Kenneth Shultz says a lot of their success comes down to the community.

For all but one of the 14 homicides this year in High Point, police have made at least one arrest.

“While we’ve had a lot of success making arrests so far this year, that’s really just the start of it," Shultz said.

The police chief says the change in attitude from the community has been a big help.

“They're tired of it. And I think when it becomes something they're passionate about, they want to work with us to do everything possible to put a stop to it,” he said.

More people are coming forward with information, but there’s also more groups getting involved. Some of that means summer camps or activities for kids, like churches or other groups. It’s also groups like Community Against Violence canvassing neighborhoods with officers after violent crimes.

Monday afternoon, organizers talked to neighbors on Carsten Avenue where police say Tyree Pickenpack shot two people, one fatally.

Officers and civilians went out to tell neighbors an arrest had been made and to let them know there will be more patrols in the area.

“I hear their concern for the safety of their children, for the safety of their neighborhood. So to come out here and to reassure them that we are standing with them and we are here to help them in anyway possible,” said Briana Smalley, with High Point Community Against Violence.

Shultz hopes these efforts will help save lives and keep kids out of jail.

“It’s very disappointing. Last year we picked up a 15-year-old who was involved in murders. This year we picked up a 16-year-old,” Shultz said.

He says community groups involving kids helps keep them out of trouble.

Another big part of their prevention effort in violent crimes is cracking down on other types of crime.

“As a department, we believe if we can look at the gang-driven violence and the drug-driven violence, we believe we can make an impact,” he said.

Recent heroin arrests in the city could also have a positive ripple effect on other violent crimes.

Even though there has been success, the chief says their work is far from over. He says they are still actively trying to solve other homicides. They are working on forensic evidence and also following any leads. The chief also said as they continue to crack down on crime, they hope to continue to get leads that will help them solve more crimes.