SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Speaking to the Chief’s Advisory Board on Thursday night, Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes said that he was pleased with progress made by the department and with efforts to fight violent crime.
“Things are going in a really good direction right now,” Stokes said. “I’m pretty happy with where we are.”
Stokes said that new collaborative efforts with the Department Of Justice and with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office have resulted in a reduction in violent crime. Filling nearly two dozen vacant positions in the department have also helped enforcement efforts, Stokes added.
The most recently released statistics on year-to-date crime show numbers with a sharp downward trend. Assaults involving gun calls went down 49%, home burglaries down 27%, car theft down 38%, and homicide down 83% from last year.
Stokes also pointed out that officers have spent more than 7100 hours this year hosting and taking part in various community events like the National Night Out, SNAG meetings, and many more.
Specific crime reduction efforts, like the Santa Patrol that was put in place in 2018, have also produced benefits, according to Stokes.
According to a press release from the event, the SPD Santa Patrol is “designed to utilize a strategic plan of leveraging community partnerships, crime prevention technology, business groups, and SPD strategic deployment of resources to prevent crime.”
The detail covered major retail areas such as Walmart, Kohl’s/Belk, Lowe’s and Downtown Salisbury, as well as residential areas where car break-ins have increased.
The detail featured 12-hour shifts on seven days of the week, the deployment of drones in public spaces only as a deterrent to crime, bait and decoy vehicles, foot patrols and plain clothes operations as they were needed.
Chief Stokes said the Santa Patrol would be in effect again in 2019, beginning on Thanksgiving Day.
Stokes also said that there is more work to be done. “There are a couple more things to polish up,” Stokes said.