Winston-Salem police chief calls on community to help officers curb gun violence

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson called on the community to help officers curb gun violence after a recent surge in crime. 

“We are telling you what our part is. Now we want to know what investment other people are willing to make to stop this crime,” she said Wednesday. 

Chief Thompson said the department is working on solutions like expanding the Real Time Crime Center to increase camera access and give officers extra eyes on the street. 

Addressing five shootings in four days, including an attack on a police substation, she said neighborhoods have to stop harboring the people pulling the trigger. 

“If they’re shooting at officers, you know what they will continue to do to citizens in our community,” Chief Thomspon said. 

Officers also need information, and right now people aren’t stepping up. 

“We have a homicide that just occurred. Over 100 people were out there, and maybe two people ultimately coming down and talking to us. Some of this was on Facebook. A lot of it is on social media,” she said. 

So far this year, there have been 19 people killed in shootings in Winston-Salem. In 2020, there were 23 victims for the entire year. 

Department leaders plan to install Shotspotter technology to detect gunfire in the coming months, and the city council is discussing a gun buyback program to get more weapons off the street. 

Chief Thompson says they’ve adjusted manpower to prioritize violent crime, but there’s only so much officers can do. 

“If there’s something else you know that we can do, tell us what it is. We want it to end,” she said. 

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