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Crime rate at its lowest since 2004

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Increased collective efforts from the Roxboro Police Department and the community has led to a decrease in crime and it is paying off big time.

The Roxboro Police Department reported their lowest crime rate in the last 14 years.

Crimes rates are down nearly 6 percent from last year, according to the Roxboro Police Department.

At 49.38 reported crimes per 1,000 people, that rate is the lowest in 14 years in the city.

Crime are categorized based on the nature of the crime. Violent crimes such as murder, rape, and aggravated assault, accounted for just less than 10 crimes per 1,000 people. Crimes against property, such as breaking and entering and larceny accounted for nearly 40 crimes per 1,000 people last year.

The latest numbers mark progress for a city that had a nearly 69 percent crime rate in 2015. It has dropped by 30 percent since 2015.

According to Roxboro police Chief David Hess, the reduction in crime is a testament to community engagement, proactive policing and increased community policing.

“We implemented several 21st century policing practices along with research on nationally recognized best industries practices. Some of those included more proactive policing on foot, so getting out of the vehicle and engaging the community,” Hess said. “There is visibility of a police car there, which can be a crime deterrent and then we partnered with several civic groups and businesses in the community to implement strategies,” said Hess.

For instance, RPD partnered with Walmart and to reduce larceny crimes.

According to Hess, the partnership with Walmart helps them investigate larceny calls.

“State law actually allows them to take out that charge (against the suspect). Our officers respond to the call but if the person is complying with loss prevention then we don’t do a investigative report because the charging entity is Walmart,” said Hess.

They also partnered with the Roxboro Housing Authority Executive Director Felts Lewis to reduce violent and drug crimes.

Most of their violent crime occurred on Housing Authority property said Hess.

The number one contributor to all the city’s violent and drug crime on the property was due to trespassers, not the residents who lived there according to Hess.

To combat this issue, Lewis partnered with RPD to eliminate trespassing and they began to enforce second-degree trespassing.

RPD has also implemented programs and activities like Coffee with a Cop, community cookouts and a program called the “See Something, Say Something” campaign.

“See Something, Say Something is a way to encourage the community if it doesn’t look right to you, it probably isn’t and you need to call 911 immediately and let us know about it. There may not be anything to it but if there is something to it, then the community has helped the police,” said Hess.

One example of that came last year when someone was driving by a business and saw suspicious activity and immediately called 911.

Officers were able to respond to the scene and found suspects breaking into the business and arrested them on the scene.

“Sir Robert Peele, one of the founders of law enforcement said the public are the police and the police are the public with the police being the only people paid full-time to carry out the duties incumbent upon us all,” Hess said. “What he means by that is the community can be the eyes and ears for the police. We obviously can’t be everywhere but if we work together we can improve the quality of life in our community.”

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