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Assault, vehicle thefts rise; homicides, rapes decline, police chief tells Fayetteville council

Citywide arrests increase 5.4% in first-quarter comparison


Assault, domestic violence and vehicle theft cases rose in the first quarter, but homicides and rapes decreased, according to Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins.

Hawkins presented a report on crime to the City Council on Monday night, comparing figures for January through March with those from the same period last year.

Hawkins noted that the city has seen a decrease in overall personal and property crimes reported over the past six years.

“The department crime trend is going downward,” she told the City Council during its regular monthly meeting at City Hall. “This is a reminder of where we’re at over the last six years.”

But in the first quarter of 2022, she said, crime is increasing in some areas compared to the first quarter of 2021.

Reports of personal crime increased from 941 in the first quarter of 2021 to 971 in the same period of 2022. Property crime was up from 2,458 reports in 2021 to 2,864 in 2022, according to Hawkins’ presentation.

Felony crimes also were up from 348 reports in 2021 to 357 in 2022.

“We saw a larger increase, especially in January and February, in motor vehicle thefts,” Hawkins said. “We spent a lot of resources doing that.”

Citywide arrests climbed slightly from 1,043 in 2021 to 1,099 in 2022. That’s an increase of 5.4%, according to her figures.

From January through March, the number of homicides dropped from 12 to 11 over the same period a year ago. The number of rapes reported decreased also, from 27 to 19, Hawkins said.

But aggravated assault reports rose 27.6%, from 225 to 287, she said.

Overall, death investigations were up 38.6%, from 101 in 2021 to 140 this year, according to Hawkins.

Domestic violence also saw a big increase, she noted. Though misdemeanors dropped from 23 to 22, felonies doubled from 10 to 20. Overall, domestic violence assaults were up by 27.3%, from a total of 33 to 42.

Drug cases involving cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl rose. Police made 28 arrests on drug charges, an increase of 20.

Hawkins said drug dealers are lacing a lot of drugs with fentanyl.

In terms of staffing, the Police Department has 383 officer positions filled, Hawkins said. The department is budgeted for 431 officers.

“We’re up this year in hiring,” Hawkins said. “Up 13 from the previous last year, but down in nonsworn (officers).”

The council voted unanimously to accept the report from Hawkins.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Fayetteville, crime, police, City Council