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Homicides, overall crime continue to increase, Fayetteville police report

Property crime rises nearly 30%, City Council told


The number of homicides and the overall crime rate have continued to climb over the past year, according to police statistics presented to the Fayetteville City Council on Monday night.

From January through September, 36 homicides were reported, statistics show. That is a 9% increase compared to this time a year ago, when 33 homicides were reported.

The numbers are nothing new. The last quarterly report from Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins showed the same upward trend in total crime and homicides.

The report also noted that the department has a total of 392 positions filled out of a budgeted 431.

Hawkins was the lead presenter of the crime report during the council’s monthly meeting at City Hall. Assisting her were Assistant Police Chiefs Kemberle Braeden and James Nolette.

“I always like to share the amazing work that the Police Department does for the community,” Hawkins said. “And this is a summary snapshot.”

The number of rapes reported in the city continued to decline, from 68 in 2021 to 58 in 2022, Braeden said.

Aggravated assault reports rose by 9.8%, from 816 cases in 2021 to 896 as of Sept. 28, according to Braeden.

"The third quarter was mainly uneventful," Braeden said.

Hawkins left immediately after the meeting and was unavailable for additional comment.

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Nolette said after the meeting that the department has been successful addressing crime.

“The department is doing exactly what it needs to,” Nolette said. “It’s a partnership with the community. It’s a partnership with nonprofits in finding solutions and outside-the-box thinking to address crime at its core, problem-solving and really evaluating what is causing the issue. There are so many different factors that go into crime itself, but we look at the location of the crime where it’s occurring, we look at the victim, and we look at the suspects and try to figure out why it’s happening at those places.”

But Nolette the numbers indicate that the Police Department could be doing a better job.

“I’m a little biased to ask that question because I think we’re doing a good job,” he said. “But can we do better? Sure. We do really well. We have almost 100% clearance rate in homicides. … We’re above the average in clearance rates. We don’t report to the end of the year, but that is something that we track, and we’re above national average in clearance rates on many of our crimes.”

Nolette said the clearance rate is when the department has “closed out cases and arrested or sought charges on suspects who have committed crime.”

“What we do a good job at — and what the officers do a good job at — is identifying crime trends and getting ahead of those crime trends. So that way, we don’t perpetuate the process victimizing the citizens of Fayetteville.”

Police representatives reported that the number of drug overdoses dropped from 67 to 50, a decrease of 25.4%.

The police statistics also showed:

  • A total of 3,164 personal crimes have been reported over the first nine months of this year, up from 3,005 in 2021. That’s an increase of 5.3%.

“Person's crimes run the gamut from communication by threat — 'I'm going to shoot you' — to pointing the gun, which is another crime, to actually shooting someone; shooting and hitting someone; to actually attempted murder,” Braeden said.

  • Property crime — which includes trespassing, damage to property, vandalism, and breaking and entering — has increased by 29.90%, from 7,809 cases last year to 9,295 in 2022.

“Again, as we look at those, those have slightly increased over the last year," Braeden said. "As I would say, as we spoke earlier during (Fire) Chief (Mike) Hill's presentation about COVID, we have gone from people being home during COVID and we can see why there has been an increase in 2022 as post-COVID people going out of their residences back to work. ...”

  • Felonies are up 23%, with 782 arrests this year. That compares with 620 a year ago.
  • Motor vehicle thefts also pose a problem, with the Monday report showing an increase of 36.92% over the last quarterly report.
  • Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com.
Fayetteville, police, crime, homicide