GREENSBORO — A month after the police chief promised more resources to combat violence in the city, the number of crimes continues to climb, including four more killings last month and another in the first few hours of this month.
However, police officials said it’s too early to determine if the changes will be effective.
“At this point we don’t want to be overly reactive and make changes too quickly so that we don’t give time for the changes we put in place to work,” said Ron Glenn, a spokesman for the Greensboro Police Department. “We don’t want to look at the numbers during a short time span and say this kind of change hasn’t had any effect.”
On June 3, Assistant City Manager Nathaniel Davis and Police Chief Wayne Scott held a joint news conference to address the city’s violence. Scott promised to continue the Gun Stoppers program, put more uniformed officers in areas experiencing gun violence, and partner with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to get faster confirmation on shell casings and ballistic matches for guns used in Greensboro crimes.
Since Jan. 1, officers have responded to 22 homicides, 161 reports of aggravated assault involving a gun, 123 incidents where shots were fired into occupied dwellings and 49 calls for discharge of a firearm.
In June, officers responded to 36 aggravated assaults, 23 shootings into occupied dwellings, six calls for discharging a firearm and four homicides.
Here’s a list of people killed in Greensboro in June, each the victim of gunfire:
June 18: Mamie Martin, 30, found shot at the Cavalier Inn at 312 W. JJ Drive.
June 20: Korey Fitzgerald, 39, found shot at 2107 16th St.
June 26: Jaishon Banks, 36, found shot inside a wrecked vehicle in the 1900 block of Merritt Drive.
June 28: James Cashier, 31, found shot in the 700 block of Watkins Street.
And the violence continued into this month.
Officers didn’t make it five hours into July without responding to a fatal shooting. Kingmenmireseti Smith, 14, was found shot at Sussman Park.
In 2017, Greensboro set a record with 44 killings in one year. Last year, the number decreased to 35.
However, the city is on pace to reach that 2017 number again this year.
Police officials say they hope the extra resources focused on curbing violence, particularly gun violence, will have an effect on that tally.
Glenn said Scott delivered on the promises he made in early June to combat the violent trend.
However, the police department had a minor setback on one of those goals. Last week, its only certified gun analyst left, which makes the partnership with the ATF that much more important.
Glenn said the departure will slow things down a bit while they train a replacement, but police can still have the guns used in crimes locally analyzed by the ATF.
Glenn said Scott also put more officers on the streets as he promised, though not necessarily in uniform. He said Scott asked a few special teams from the investigative unit to adjust their schedules and go into neighborhoods where violent crimes are happening regularly.
He said those officers might be plainclothes detectives, but they work in those areas daily, meet with residents and are visible in the community.
He said they are balancing their caseload and being proactive about gathering information from residents in those areas, as well as gaining their trust.
“We’re not just present but building active relationships in the community to address these things,” Glenn said. “We’re working with people to cooperate with current investigations and get people off the street that are causing these shootings.”