GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Greenville Police Department released data on crime in the city, what those numbers look like and a plan of action to work on decreasing crime numbers in the community.

Greenville Chief of Police Ted Sauls said the department is always looking to stay ahead of crime. He said recently there’s been an increase in crime. The new numbers are a good gauge of how the city is doing.

“When I say this year, I mean the end of 2022 compared to 2021, about 5% overall [increase of crime],” said Sauls. “And I think it’s really important that we look at the breakdown of what that actually is.”

In Greenville, the city reported 463 violent crimes. In our state capitol, Raleigh police responded to more than 2,000 violent crimes, and if we continue further west, in Asheville, that number was 708.

In part of the NC State Bureau of Investigation report, Greenville sat 11th out of 13 cities on the crime comparison data chart with the highest being Charlotte and Concord having the least number of these crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

The trend analysis is on a sharp decline from the past five years, and one-way GPD tries to stay ahead of crime is through traffic safety. Sauls said traffic and crime overlap.

“So if you do your enforcement, heavier enforcement in those areas, then you’re likely to impact someone who may be considering doing something else wrong. So that deterrent factor is there,” said Sauls. “We have to be responsive as law enforcement because we’re responding to things that have occurred, but on the times that we’re able to be proactive, that’s one of our number one ways. Citizen context is another.”

Sauls said it may seem like crime is increasing more in the area, but it’s more about transparency.

“With that comes the ability for people to see more, and the more you see, the more you may think, oh, that’s a problem. No, maybe just in the past, we didn’t have a method or a mechanism to tell you about it as quick as we do now. So I always fall back on all of my staff and everybody the department and tell them be sure to explain,” said Chief Sauls.

In support of GPD, Mayor P.J. Connelly said we can all pitch in to help reduce crime in Greenville, and some of those efforts begin at home.