Jan 18, 2023 - News

Raleigh saw a sharp increase in homicides in 2022

Illustration of crime scene tape reading CRIME SCENE and DO NOT CROSS over a dark background.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Nearly 50 people were murdered in Raleigh in 2022 — the highest number reported since the city began reporting its violent crime data almost 30 years ago, Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said in a press conference last week.

Why it matters: The increase in homicides — more than 50% occurred late last year compared to the final months of 2021 — reflects a broader trend of rising violent crime, which is expected in a city growing as fast as Raleigh.

  • It's a reminder that the city still has work to do as it adjusts to the symptoms that come along with that growth.

What they're saying: "As our city and our region continues to grow, we are not naive to think that we won't see increases in various crime categories," Patterson said. "It is part of the growing pains of being a major metropolitan city.

  • "But I want to assure you that the Raleigh Police Department is and will continue to devote every resource it can to preventing and reducing crime."

By the numbers: Nearly half of all assaults involved a firearm, and teenagers with access to a firearm were involved in more than 11% of the nearly 300 aggravated assaults reported in the final months of last year, according to the police department, which Patterson noted as particularly concerning.

Zoom out: Violent crime also rose in Raleigh in 2021, but it dropped in Durham that same year.

Between the lines: The Raleigh Police Department is facing staffing shortages.

  • The department had 115 vacancies to fill — 15% of the force — Patterson said last week.

The intrigue: Patterson said Raleigh isn't looking into using gunshot detection technology Shotspotter, which Durham has adopted.

  • "I would rather make the investments in areas where we can prevent crime from occuring in the first place," Patterson said.

Be smart: Patterson emphasized that lawful gun owners should secure their firearms and should not leave them in their vehicles.

  • In 2022, 286 firearms were stolen from vehicles in Raleigh, Patterson said, a 25% increase from 2021.

What's next: Patterson will hold another briefing going through crime data for the entirety of 2022 later this month, she said.


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