Homicide seeing 350% increase in High Point; ‘there’s really no warning signs’, ‘their first act of violence that’s been documented is murder’

North Carolina

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) – Criminal homicide in High Point is up 350% this year compared to the same time in 2020, according to High Point Police. 

It’s an alarming number for officers who are now faced with a new challenge in stopping the acts of violence. 

“There’s really no warning signs, there’s no indicators,” said Lieutenant Matt Truitt. “They’ve never been arrested, never been charged with anything and their first act of violence that’s been documented is murder.” 

Often people behind recent crimes have no criminal history, sometimes not even one interaction with police. 

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Lt. Truitt told FOX8 the nine homicides in 2021 include four shootings, two stabbings and three violent acts involving strangulation or beatings. In 2020 there were only two homicides at this same time and a total of 12 for the entire year.  

“Those that have had violent pasts, we can almost pinpoint what the future is going to be,” he said. “Typically, we can focus through our offender focus programs that we have here in the city and watch for those folks that have been violent over time.” 

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He said most of the known criminals they track are going to other cities or even out of state to commit crimes. The future is uncertain since recent violent crime is from fresh faces with no indicators of violent tendencies. 

“When someone has had zero police contact and their first act of documented violence or documented crime is murder, that’s kind of tough to put a strategic plan together and how to combat that type of crime,” Truitt said. 

Most cases are not random and have a connection between the offender and victim.

In June 19-year-old Gianna Delgado was murdered. Investigators said she was strangled to death inside her apartment on Pallas Way. Delgado’s boyfriend Michael Cadogan was arrested and charged with her murder. 

“The offender and the victim have some type of relationship whether it’s domestic-related or some type of friendship or whatever the case may be,” he said.

There’s still no arrest in two homicides cases this year, according to Truitt. One is the murder of Pastor Robert Booth, a father of a two-year-old who was engaged to his girlfriend. On May 25th he was shot and killed outside his home on Ardale Drive.

“We don’t have a lot of information on that case,” he said. “No leads that can be really ran down to come to an arrest at this point.”

That’s why connecting with the community is important to prevent crime and solve cases. Lt. Truitt told FOX8 that officers team up with the Guilford County Family Justice Center to walk neighborhoods after a crime. They talk to people about what happened and share resources to help. It’s called a flyer response. 

“We flood that area not with just police, but with people that live in those communities and help us spread the word simply, if you see something, say something,” he said.

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