GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Community policing is a part of the fight behind violent crime in Greensboro.
“You can’t keep neighborhoods safe if you don’t have a good relationship between the police and the community,” Greensboro Police Chief Brian James said.
Homicides are down 28 percent this year compared to the same time in 2020, according to the Greensboro Police Crime Analysis released Monday.
In August 2020 Greensboro was on a record-setting pace with 32 homicides. This year there have been 23 homicides.
“I’m still not happy about it because we still have 23 families that have suffered the loss of a loved one this year,” James said. “There’s still more work to do.”
Greensboro police need 90 more sworn officers for the force. There are currently 601 sworn officers, but the police department is authorized for 691 sworn officers.
“The shortage certainly hurts us from our ability to perform our jobs,” he said.
The shortage leaves officers with no time to waste
“We have to be very intentional about how we deploy people,” James said. “We’re really paying attention to when things are happening, at what times of day to make sure we’ve got people where they need to be.”
The police department is looking into the possibility of adding civilian traffic investigators to handle minor crashes. It would free up sworn officers to respond to more serious situations.
“We’re looking at different types of calls that we’re responding to,” James said. “We’re trying to be smarter going forward in the future to try and make the best use of our resources.”
James told FOX8 preventing and solving crimes is most effective through trust with people who live in the community.
“The community relationships are really the lifeblood of what we do,” he said. “If we don’t have these relationships we can’t be effective in the community.”
James stopped by several neighborhoods for National Night Out on Tuesday. It was an opportunity for those behind the badge to meet the people they serve.
“We have to build those relationships every day of the year,” he said. “That’s just from regular interactions with the people that we serve but also having different community initiatives.”
James said everyday interactions make the difference.
“When we sit down and talk we realize we’re all people and we want the same things,” James said. “We want to raise our families. We want to keep our communities safe.”
James told FOX8 he hopes around 40 officers will join the police department soon. One of the largest police academy classes in the past three years will begin on Sept. 1. He said the training will last 10 months before officers start patrols.