City crime dropped in 2012
Reported Part I crime in High Point fell 12 percent in 2012 from the previous year, according to unofficial figures from the High Point Police Department.
The number of homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults dropped 7 percent, marking the fifth year in a row that violent crime has declined in the city.
Property crime — which includes break-ins, larcenies, auto thefts and arson — was down 12 percent.
Some secondary categories of crime also decreased, such as vandalism (from 912 in 2011 to 888 in 2012), while the number of reported simple assaults increased (from 763 to 869). For all categories of crime for the year, there were a total of 8,603 reported offenses, compared to 9,085 in 2011, for a decrease of 5 percent.
Every category of violent crime dropped last year except homicides, which increased from four to six. Last year’s tally includes the death of a man armed with two knives who was shot by police after allegedly charging at two officers in the lobby of the Sheraton Towers apartment building in September 2012.
Police had to include the shooting in their uniform crime reports, even though authorities have said their review of the evidence in the case to date indicates that the officers acted properly. The results of a State Bureau of Investigation report on the shooting are pending.
Police Chief Marty Sumner said the number of violent crimes reported last year was the lowest in more than a decade. He said the department has continued its long-time deterrence strategy of early intervention with individuals and groups suspected of driving crime patterns.
The chief also credited aggressive prosecutions of violent offenders and the work of the High Point Community Against Violence with influencing the statistics.
“We’re getting sustained results. We’re staying with what’s working,” he said. “I’m very, very pleased with the reduction in Part I.”
The decline in property crime followed a year in which it was up, driven by a rise in larcenies during 2011. Sumner said detectives brought a successful case against one of the largest fencing operations for stolen goods in High Point, which decreased the number of shoplifting cases that occurred last year.
The chief said detectives also cracked down on copper thieves by keeping close tabs on the records of scrap yards and recycling facilities to flag the names of any suspicious individuals bringing in possible stolen materials.
In addition, he said investigators broke up a couple of large residential and commercial burglary rings.
“That was just good, hard police work — finding a witness, breaking one case, getting a fingerprint match, doing some good interviews, and they were able to clear a lot of cases,” he said.
He credited these efforts with helping bring about a reduction in break-ins (from 1,271 to 1,192) and larcenies (from 3,590 to 2,974) last year.