GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Greensboro police are on track to break a record police and city leaders have been trying to avoid.
Police Chief John Thompson has been reallocating resources to areas his department knows need extra enforcement.
A recent initiative to stop violent crime in Greensboro ended with mixed results.
“I’m very troubled by the lives being lost and the highlighted focus on District One,” Greensboro City Councilmember for District One Sharon Hightower said.
Hightower represents District One, which is the southeast section of the city. It’s an area with a growing crime problem
“We get emails daily about stopping the battles,” Hightower said.
In July, the Greensboro Police Department started an initiative to stop violent crime in the city with a specific focus on the southeast part of the city.
Police reallocated officers to areas most vulnerable to violence, and the plan worked up to a point.
Police seized 63 guns, arrested 167 people and recovered 22 stolen vehicles, but it didn’t stop homicides.
“There were about 20 homicides during this initiative. But what I can say is during the timeframes that this particular squad or squads were working, there were lower number of homicides that were occurring during these certain time frames … As I stated before … one homicide is too many,” GPD Assistant Chief Ric Alston said.
So far this year, police investigated 60 homicides, which is 21 more than this same time last year.
Greensboro set a city record in 2020 with 62 homicides.
“This is sad … Any time you see the community hurting because of gun violence … It hurts us, too because when the community is dealing with issues, and we’re trying our best to help the community with issues, and we just feel like we’re not getting to the place,” Alston said.
“I’m frustrated. I’m disheartened … We do as much as we can do to prevent these things from occurring,” Hightower said.
The reallocation initiative ended at the end of September, but city leaders and Greensboro police say they aren’t giving up on the idea of stopping the violence.
“I want people to know that it is a priority of city council. It is a concern, and so we don’t want them to think that we don’t care,” Hightower said.
“It makes me upset … It makes me want to do all I can for the community,” Alston said.
Greensboro police consider the initiative a success mainly because they got illegal guns off the streets.
They point out those weapons could have done a lot of harm and getting them off the streets is step one in making the city safer.