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Police chief: Property crimes, crimes against people down in 2021


Property crimes and overall crimes against people were down last year, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins told the City Council on Monday night.

Hawkins presented the City Council with crime numbers from the fourth quarter while also sharing six-year trends and how her department got to where it is at this point in time.

“Our total overall crimes against persons and crimes against property – which includes all the crimes subcategories – we were down compared to 2020,” she told the council during its regular monthly meeting at the FAST Transit Center.

The department’s focus, she said, is on repeat offenders.

For the six-year trend, Hawkins said, “We’re at the lowest overall … than we have been in the last six years, year after year."

Homicides, however, are troubling at a six-year high with 48 in 2021.

Overall, crimes against persons were down with 4,039 last year, Hawkins said. That’s a 2.2% decrease from 2020, when the number was 4,130.

As for property crime, the police chief said, that was down 13.5%. Those incidents dropped from 12,324 in 2020 to 10,660 in 2021, based on Fayetteville police data.

The combined crimes against persons and property, when tracking the six-year trend, went from 19,345 in 2016 to 14,699 in 2020, Hawkins said.

“We think that where that big drop is (is) from the community being educated and informed a lot more. That’s how we look back and determine what do we do, what do we change in 2017 as we started 2018,” she said.

The 48 homicides in Fayetteville last year are in sharp contrast to the 32 in 2020, based on her report. That’s a percentage change of 50%, her presentation indicated.

“All these deaths, our homicide units responded to,” she said.

Of those murders, 14 remain unsolved, she said.

Councilman Johnny Dawkins asked Hawkins if the homicide numbers indicated the number of events or the number of victims dead "because I was under the impression we did have homicides where there was more than one to die. Whereas two perpetrators shot and killed each other. So I guess I'm trying to figure out, did we have 48 dead or are there more?"

"Those are bodies," Hawkins said of the 48 murders.

As for rapes, the figures showed the number remained the same over 2020 and 2021 with a reported 87 occurring within the city limits.

Burglaries in Fayetteville declined over the two years, from 1,358 in 2020 to 979 in 2021, statistics show.

Hawkins also talked about drugs that officers have seized.

Officers seized 25,786 grams of cocaine in 2021 compared with 10,542 grams the year before, the Police Department said.

As for fentanyl, regarded as one of the most deadly drugs on the streets today, the number increased markedly from 2,101 grams seized in 2020 to 8,790 grams a year ago.

“We pulled a lot of that off the street last year compared to the prior year,” Hawkins said.

Dawkins asked why that is? "I notice heroin is down, cocaine is up 2 1/2 times. Fentanyl is up 400%. Would you give your best guess why that is? Is it price? Is the drug of choice fentanyl? I need to try to understand what has happened and then what is your guidance on how we go about fighting this? What are other police chiefs doing that you're borrowing their ideas from?"

"So, they're borrowing ours," Hawkins said.

"So this is the narcotics unit by themselves with their pro-activity and when they go out and make arrests," she said. "This is their seizure. As for gauges, we can predict what's happening, that's very difficult based on just seizures. But we know fentanyl overdoses is opioid, which is up. Which is the really dangerous drug. You only need s small portion of that, and they're lacing that with a lot of things. The focus on trying to get fentanyl is across the nation because of how volatile that drug is. People are trying to get people to come and use that drug, and once you get hooked on that, it is really dangerous. Our folks trying to get that off the streets is a priority."

The department has seen an increase in guns on the street, and the number of seizures increased from what police said was 45 in 2020 to 83 in 2021.

The total number of calls received at the 911 Call Center, the information indicated, went from 195,308 in 2020 to 222,474 in 2021.

“That’s a lot of additional calls,” Hawkins said. “Our response time is higher than normal. Actually higher than our target goal.”

The agency’s target response time is 7 minutes, 20 seconds, but the average response time in 2021 was 9 minutes and 45 seconds. That compares with the national average of 6 to 9 minutes, according to the police chief's PowerPoint presentation.

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, City Council, Police Department, Police Chief Gina Hawkins, crime statistics, property crimes