JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Jacksonville Police Department responded to 32,000 911 calls last year.
Five years ago, that number was slightly higher at about 35,000. Police are optimistic about these numbers but say they still have a way to go.
9OYS sat down with Jacksonville Chief Of Police Michael Yaniero. He said that despite a decrease in 911 calls and overall crimes in the area, they have seen an increase in violent crime.
“We look at aggravated assaults, look at robberies, and we look at besides, we have seen an uptick last well, since the pandemic in those types of crimes, and that’s nothing that other communities haven’t seen as well,” said Yaniero.
The violent crime increase isn’t the only thing they’ve seen during the pandemic.
“We’ve seen more mental health emergencies, more crisis intervention,” said Yaniero.
There’s also been an uptick of car crashes, too.
“We have about 100,000 people that move in and out of the city, because of the Marine Corps base. And so when you have that much volume of traffic moving throughout the city, you know, people do have to be patient, especially when it’s rush hour,” said Yaniero.
Despite this, 911 calls still remain lower than in previous years. But, when you take into account the number of people calling the 10-digit emergency number, things change a bit.
“In doing some research in the last year or so, what we’ve discovered is that more than half of our calls for service across the board, emergency calls down, come in on a 10-digit line,” said Yaniero.
Last year, over 100,000 calls came into that 10-digit line. That amount raises some concerns for the chief.
“We do know that we need to do a better job of informing the public to use 911. And that could be a number of reasons. People think this is not really an emergency, I can just call the police department,” said Yaniero. “What we should encourage our people to do is not use the 10-digit number but call 911 If they need a police officer for an emergency.”