I’ve decided to get a broader view of North Carolina crime so that we can compare it to the Burlington community. I started by looking at the North Carolina’s Department of Justice compilation of crime statistics report from 2013, the most recent report available to the public. Here are some interesting statistics I found:
Alamance County’s crime rate per 100,000: 3,714.4 (in the top 25 of all 100 counties in North Carolina)
Most common crimes in North Carolina are larceny, burglary, and aggravated assault
Alamance County has a high property crime rate than violent crime rate, which is consistent with North Carolina state crime rates
Number of arrests of juveniles (under 18) for both violent and property crimes was 9,851
Number of arrests of adults (18 and over) for both violent and property crimes was 77,197
Total number of arrests for both violent and property crimes was 87, 048
Number of arrests of juveniles under 16 for both violent and property crimes was 3,484
Crime has been on the decline in the past decade
Between 2004 and 2013, all crimes have dropped by 12.6%, with the largest decreased in motor vehicle theft, rape, arson and robbery
In 2013, Alamance County had 5,659 crime offenses, with the most committed offenses being burglary and larceny.
For our home page, I created an interactive map using ThingLink. I used the map of crimes from RAIDS Online and Google Maps and added icons over specific images with the percentages of different crimes over the past three months. To have it show on our home page, I installed a plug-in. This will also come in handy for my portion of the project, Common Crimes.
As we start to come to the finish of the project, I plan to fix up and polish what I have, along with compiling all of my information into a final article. My first plan is to fix my infographic for common crimes to utilize better visuals and make the infographic have a more professional feel. I also am looking into making a map of common crimes in the area, similar to what RAIDS Online offers, and possibly making it interactive. This could either go with my article or on our home page. I also am looking into collecting crime facts at a national level to compare Burlington to a larger scale environment.
I have also been one of the main people in the group to design the site. I’ve organized the blog and put together the menu. I also created our header photo with the handcuffs. The project seems to be coming along quite nicely. For group work, I know our next goal is to put together the home page, which would include us possibly coming all our video interviews, along with providing a summary of our project.
I’ve been working on compiling all of my information and my plan after break is to start bringing everything together. I’ve conducted two interviews with the Burlington Police. I’ve completed a video and an infographic. My next goal is to start compiling the story. I hope to get more outside information to add to the story. I’m also going to start writing the first draft of the story so I can see if I need to conduct more interviews or gather more information. I may also go to the police station and take some more pictures just to add to the story.
I also interviewed Alex English, the crime analyst with Burlington Police. Below I’ve included some quotes from my conversation with him along with information on how they collect and use data
FBI website has crime data for all of the agencies that report (95% of them do) so that they can compare crime data per capita
Agencies are Greensboro police department, Graham police department, county sheriff’s office
“If you look at our data, our number one crime is always larcenies.”
Thefts from grocery stores are usually the homeless stealing food
Thefts from larger stores (i.e. Walmart) with higher priced items (i.e. electronics) are usually stolen so that they can be resold to get money for drugs
Burlington has 2 of the 3 Walmarts in the county, so this could be a reason for why larcenies are the number one crime
“Those numbers go up to the state, each state sends those numbers to the FBI, and that’s sort of how they get the crime index for the nation as a whole.”
“Each officer has a computer in their car. They take the report there and it comes in with the address, geo-coded and all, so it goes through that map. Once a supervisor approves the report its dumped on the RAIDS online map every night, from six in the morning to 8 a.m.”
English will occasionally go through and make sure that the program is coded correctly. The biggest coding issues they have are the locations based on wherever the call comes in from. Sometimes the location of the crimes will default to the police station if the call is answered there.
Does analysis of crimes and looks to see if trends are going up or down
Also does intellenge-led policing
“Instead of just randomly driving around for stuff, we look for patterns. We’ll sort of see if we can predict the next pattern or what’s going to be a likely target, and set up a patrol around that area.”
“When we have lulls in the call volume, we try to be proactive and do things that will get the best bang for our buck.”
“We’ll look at the past week and have all of the reported crimes for that. We might look at the number of larcenies we had this week, or the number of motor vehicle thefts, or break-ins into motor vehicles we have. We’ll look at that number and then we’ll look at the past five years of data and sort of see what’s our average for the five years and then do one standard deviation above and below, so that’s 95% of your crime should generally be in that area to say that’s a normal range, nothing big or low. If it’s above it, it’s a red flag of ‘Okay, what’s going on here? Let’s look a little further.’ If it’s below it we’re looking at what did we do here to keep crime down.”
I interview Lieutenant Brett L. Currie of the Community Relations division of the Burlington Police on Tuesday. I’ve included below some of the information I gathered from our interview:
Larcenies from retail stores, such as Walmart an Belk, are the most commonly seen crimes
Have a lot of car break-ins of cars that are left unlocked and will sometimes have a rash of those, along with theft from locked cars
Majority of these occur in apartment complexes
“There’s really no daily routine. Everything changes daily. Once we come in, we have a mindset of we come in, we do a role call, where officers get information about things that’s going on throughout the city that may have happened overnight, things to look for doing the day, certain people, certain vehicles, items like that. And then, all of a sudden, things can change, and everything will just go haywire all of a sudden. The power can go out in the city or a stoplights not working and also got to direct traffic. Still, after calls for service, we may have run out of man power because we don’t have enough people out on the street to answer calls that we get tied up on one major event in the city.”
8 patrol teams
13-14 officers on each team
1 K-9 unit goes on each shift
“It takes a lot of work between everybody involved. We need citizens and everybody to help us do our job and they expect a certain thing from us for service, and so we’ve all just have to work together and form a common ground.”
While patrolling the Burlington police website (pardon the pun), I found a lot of interesting information on the Burlington Police Patrol. It is under the command of Assistant Chief J.E. Kerns. There are 66 patrol officers who split their time between four shifts.Patrol officers are usually first responders to calls, and in 2012, officers responded to 64,024 calls.
Each officer must complete a minimum of 648 hours of Basic Law Enforcement training to start, and they continue their law enforcement education through their career. Each officer is assigned to a specific patrol area or zone that they cover during their shift. Each shift has an assigned canine and a canine handler. The K-9 unit is useful in tracking suspects, suspect apprehension, building searches, and narcotics detection
I also found the Police Department’s Mission Statement interesting, as it focuses on the community and makes a point to mention being fair and experienced. The mission statement is, “The police department is committed to improving the quality of life in partnership with our community through fair and professional police services.”
There are also programs to get citizens involved in keeping Burlington safe. Crime Stoppers is an anonymous way for citizens to call in and report illegal activity. Citizens may receive monetary award depending on the information they provide.
The Civilian Ride Along program gives citizens a chance to apply to accompany an officer on their shift. This way they can get firsthand experience on what the police patrol does.
You can find more information on the Burlington Police Patrol here.