WPD chief: Homicides up, most crimes down in first half of 2017 - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

WPD chief: Homicides up, most crimes down in first half of 2017

While the homicide rate rose in Wilmington in the first half of the year, the numbers dropped in most crime categories, Wilmington Police Department Chief Ralph Evangelous said Wednesday. (Source: WECT) While the homicide rate rose in Wilmington in the first half of the year, the numbers dropped in most crime categories, Wilmington Police Department Chief Ralph Evangelous said Wednesday. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

While the homicide rate rose in Wilmington in the first half of the year, the numbers dropped in most crime categories, Wilmington Police Department Chief Ralph Evangelous said Wednesday.

"Overall, crime is on a historic downward trend," he told city council members during a presentation.

Evangelous said that there were 2,302 Part 1 crimes reported in the Port City over the last six months, down from 2,707 reported during the same period a year ago.

Part 1 crimes are classified as violent or property-related crimes. They include aggravated assault, rape, murder, robbery, arson, burglary, larceny/theft and motor vehicle theft.

"If we continue the pace that we're at right now, total Part 1 crimes would end up at 4,604," he said. "We've never broken into the 4,000 category in crimes since we've been keeping crime statistics here. In fact, that's been one of my goals the past several years.

"I want you to think about that in terms of population increase. Compare it to the early 2000s when we had about 100,0000 people and we had about 8,600 to 8,700 Part 1 crimes."

Among the areas to see the biggest drops this year compared to the first six months of 2016 were burglaries (from 660 to 461) and larcenies (from 1,531 to 1,384).

"You would think the opposite would be occurring with the opioid epidemic because addiction and property crimes go hand-in-hand," Evangelous said. "But we've put a lot of serial burglars in jail. We've taken them off the streets. One burglar can commit 40, 50, 80 crimes over time before you incarcerate them."

The city has seen a significant increase in homicides from last year, from five in the first half of 2016 to 13 already this year.

Evangelous pointed out that arrests have been made in 12 of the 13 murders.

He also said that while more than half of the homicides in Wilmington last year were gang-related, just two fall into the category this year.

But he did point out that five of this year's murders were the result of domestic violence.

Evangelous said the city has seen a steady increase in domestic violence cases over the last 10 years and is using the following steps to change that:

  • Working with domestic violence agencies to create a public awareness campaign
  • Created Port City Supergirls to not only address gang violence but also domestic violence
  • Trying to expand the domestic violence detective unit to follow up on high-risk domestic violence cases, especially repeat offenders.

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