Assaults, drug violations up in city

Traffic fatalities, felony arrests down in 2014

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — It was a case of good news bad news for the city of Rockingham and Police Chief Billy Kelly presented his department’s 2014 annual report Tuesday night before Mayor Steve Morris and the City Council.

Kelly offered a brief overview of the 35-page report. Chief among the figures that stood out among arrest activity:

* 2 murder arrests (0 in 2013)
* 3 robberies (9 in 2013)
* 2 rapes (1 in 2013)
* 273 assaults (240 in 2013)
* 167 drug violations (133 in 2013)

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The number of arrests for murder, robberies, assaults and drug violations were up in 2014 compared to 2013. Not all arrests resulted in convictions.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The number of arrests for murder, robberies, assaults and drug violations were up in 2014 compared to 2013. Not all arrests resulted in convictions.

There was a 13.7 percent increase in assaults that resulted in arrests within Rockingham city limits last year. In addition, the number of drug violations that netted arrests increased 25.5 percent, to 167 arrests in 2014 compared to 133 the previous year.

City police officers responded to 13,105 calls for help last year — an average of more than 819 calls per officer, Kelly noted. A total of 40.3 percent of those calls, however, were for non-criminal or public assistance issues, Kelly said, such as bank escorts, unlocking vehicles, assisting residents with public utility problems and more. Kelly said while not necessarily police department matters, he hopes the officers increased exposure in the community helps deter crime and to allow residents to get to know those who serve and protect them.

According to the call log call type summary, city officers responded to a wide variety of calls. Not all of those reports resulted in arrests:

* 246 breaking, entering and larceny
* 119 breaking, entering and larceny from a motor vehicle
* 109 breaking and entering
* 131 communicating threats
* 184 reports of a drunk pedestrian
* 918 animal calls
* 184 damage to property
* 143 reports of gunshots fired
* 17 illegal dumping reports
* 18 reports of indecent exposure
* 1 Internet pornography report
* 199 reports of loud music
* 811 warrants served
* 6 reports of underage drinking
* 14 vehicle fires
* 3,045 unlocked vehicles
* 1 report of a weapon on school grounds
* 271 welfare checks

The number of felony arrests dropped from a seven-year high of 536 in 2011 to 336 in 2014, a one-year decrease of 21.1 percent from 2013 to 2014. Further, the department had 1,228 misdemeanor arrests (an increase from 2013) and closed or cleared 1,568 cases.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Cpl. Marcus Ricks, left, measures the tire skid marks of an Hyundai Elantra from the north bound land of U.S. Route 220 at North Lee Street across the highway to the edge of the south bound lanes. The Elantra came to a rest in a ditch. This accident took place in October 2014.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Cpl. Marcus Ricks, left, measures the tire skid marks of an Hyundai Elantra from the north bound land of U.S. Route 220 at North Lee Street across the highway to the edge of the south bound lanes. The Elantra came to a rest in a ditch. This accident took place in October 2014.

Traffic enforcement

Kelly emphasized there were zero traffic fatalities within city limits in 2014, compared to five combined in 2013 and 2012. There were, however, 673 traffic accidents including 129 (19.1 percent) with personal injury — both figures an increase from 2013. Kelly’s report noted that a designation of personal injury, however, “could be something as a complaint of pain with no injury visible.”

More than one-third — 35 percent, or 236 of 673 — of the accidents occurred in private parking areas such as shopping centers or business parking lots. According to the report, inattention is the most common cause for these incidents.

Broad Avenue, or Highway Business 74, was the most likely place a traffic accident resulting in property damage or personal injury would occur in 2014 — 109 property damage (16.1 percent) and 45 personal injury (34.8 percent).

Long Drive, with 18 and five reports each, respectively, was the second most dangerous place to be a motorist or passenger last year and Rockingham Road (24 and 10) was third.

Officers issued a total of 4,220 citations in 2014. Kelly noted the departments goal to increase traffic enforcement, maintain high seatbelt usage rates and low personal injury traffic collision rates.

Of the 4,220 citations:

* 1,114 speeding misdemeanors/infractions (421/693)
* 380 seatbelt violation
* 367 expired registration
* 194 driving while licensed revoked
* 112 no operator license
* 226 inspection
* 96 no insurance
* 92 unsafe movement

Prescription drugs

Through its secure drop box inside the police department building on East Franklin Street in conjunction with Operation Medicine Drop, residents were able to safety dispose of:
* 628 controlled substance dosage units
* 20,746 prescription dosage units
* 7,282 over-the-counter dosage units
* 964 unknown/veterinarian dosage units

The drop box inside the police building is accessible to the public five days a week throughout the year.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Ashley Polston, 11, of Cheraw, S.C., takes photos of a staged crime scene in July during a Junior Police Academy training exercise inside Rotary Lodge at Hinson Lake. In this case, the microwave served as a “safe” in which the suspect hid a firearm used in a convenience story robbery. Polston was one of more than 50 area youth to take part in the camp.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Ashley Polston, 11, of Cheraw, S.C., takes photos of a staged crime scene in July during a Junior Police Academy training exercise inside Rotary Lodge at Hinson Lake. In this case, the microwave served as a “safe” in which the suspect hid a firearm used in a convenience story robbery. Polston was one of more than 50 area youth to take part in the camp.

Community events

City Council members praised Kelly for his department’s outreach efforts noted in the report, including a back-to-school event in the Cauthen Drive community, National Night Out, Junior Police Academy (report 1, report 2), Trunk-or-Treat at Browder Park and more.

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety, Rockingham

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