City crime down across the board

Jan. 11—HIGH POINT — Crime in the city was down last year compared to 2022 in every major category, according to figures released this week by the High Point Police Department.

The crime statistics report shows an annual drop in homicides, assaults and property crimes, including robberies and burglaries. Violent crime dropped 15% in 2023 from the previous year. This is the fourth consecutive year that violent crime has been down across the city, the department reported.

“Our stats are a reflection of the people we have here in the department,” Interim Police Chief Curtis Cheeks III said. “They are the ones getting the work done. They are the ones committed to this community.”

High Point had 13 homicides last year compared to 15 in 2022. Detectives cleared all but one homicide case from 2023.

In other High Point Police Department crime statistics, rapes declined 67% from 21 to seven while robberies dropped 23% from 107 to 82. Overall property crime was down 8% last year.

Aggravated assaults fell 8% from 330 to 303, the police department reports.

High Point’s homicide total contrasted with its large neighboring cities in the Triad. Greensboro had 74 homicides last year while Winston-Salem had 47, both record highs.

“Each city has its own unique set of challenges to deal with and overcome,” Cheeks said. “It’s hard for me to speak specifically about another city because I don’t know the in-and-out details as I do here in High Point.”

Cheeks attributes the homicide statistics in High Point to a long-game approach the city started in 1997 called focused deterrence. The approach offers people involved in criminal behavior an opportunity through community resources to change the trajectory of their lives. If they don’t and are caught committing crimes, they face prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

“What we look at is the root cause of our issue, then we drill down on the factors that influence it,” Cheeks said.

Focused deterrence has been used over more than two decades to address violence that spiked at different periods because of issues such as open-air drug markets, gang activity or domestic violence.

Cheeks said that focused deterrence takes an extended approach to countering crime.

“Sometimes you see these dragnet programs where you saturate an area for a short amount of time,” he said. “What we do through focused deterrence is make sure we have a sustainable effort.”

The decline in crime last year also reflects the police department’s ongoing collaboration with nonprofit groups and community organizations to deter criminal activity, Cheeks said.

As part of an effort to deter violence at schools, recently retired police chief Travis Stroud launched a program in 2022 to have police officers make daily, randomly timed checks at public and private schools across the city. In 2023, officers completed 9,162 school safety checks, the police department reported.

[email protected] — 336-888-3528 — @HPEpaul

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