Report: Richmond County crime down 9.9 percent

Crime in Richmond County decreased by 9.9 percent in 2013,
according to the 2013 North Carolina Uniform Crime Report.

* Sept. 10: Violent crime down 15 percent
* Sept. 15: Frye – we have a crime problem
* Sept. 16: US Attorney’s Office acknowledges mistake

Property crime is down in Richmond County in 2013 compared to 2012, and so are cases of murder and rape.

The information was provided by Randy Tysinger, public information officer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District based in Greensboro. On Sept. 10, Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. released a the media news release from the Greensboro office that erroneously used statistics from a previous year. That erroneous data included a reported 15 percent drop in crime.

Sheriff James Clemmons Jr.

Sheriff James Clemmons Jr.

Bo Frye, Republican challenger against Clemmons, a Democrat, in the November election, used the opportunity to to go on the offensive.

The claim of a 15 percent decrease in violent crime, Frye said, “is false.” Frye referred to a Sept. 10 Post report through which the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greensboro touted a 15 percent reduction in violent crime in conjunction with a news conference by Clemmons regarding a number of federal convictions of county criminals.

Frye said the most current data available is from 2012 and that “in those statistics, crime is still high in Richmond County.”

But the data provided Thursday by Tysinger shows the decrease in the rate of Richmond County index crime — which includes violent crime and property crime — was greater than the overall decrease in index crimes in North Carolina. The index crime rate in North Carolina decreased 7 percent in 2013, according to the annual summary released by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Bo Frye

Bo Frye

Richmond County property crimes — which consist of burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft — decreased 10.8 percent in 2013, outpacing the statewide rate decrease of 7.2 percent. While violent crime — which includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — increased 3 percent in Richmond County during 2013, the number of murders dropped from eight in 2012 to one in 2013, and reports of rape dropped from 21 to 17 during the same period.

“We are very pleased to be part of the team fighting crime in Richmond County,” said United States Attorney Ripley Rand. “The 2013 North Carolina Uniform Crime Report shows that the reduction in Richmond County’s index crime rate was greater than the statewide decrease, and seven fewer Richmond County lives were lost to violent crime when compared to 2012. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to maintaining an effective partnership with Richmond County law enforcement and the office of District Attorney Reece Saunders to make our communities safer for all.”

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