Unlike many cities in the country, Greensboro did not have a record breaking year for homicides in 2021.
According to the Greensboro Police Department there were 53 homicides in Greensboro during 2021, which is down from 62 in 2020, but is still the second highest total on record for the City of Greensboro. That number could increase slightly in the next few months, as it did in 2020 when a death that was not considered a homicide was reclassified after new information was discovered.
In 2019 there were 45 homicides in Greensboro, which at the time broke the existing record.
Early in 2021, Greensboro was on track to set a new record for homicides. As of March 19, 2021, there had been 11 homicides compared to six on the same date in 2020. So far in 2022, two homicides were reported on Monday, Jan. 3.
Despite being faced with a severe shortage of police officers – during most of the year the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) was down close to 100 officers from its full authorization – Police Chief Brian James implemented a number of policies to reduce violent crime in the city.
According to James, one of those efforts in 2021 was to concentrate on reducing the number of guns on the streets and that was successful with records indicating police more than doubled the number of illegal firearms seized in 2021 over 2020.
James, also in a report to the City Council, said that the different police divisions were meeting on a regular basis and that had resulted in “getting our people in the right places at the right time.”
Another part of that strategy to have police in the right place at the right time, according to James, was to have quick dissemination of the data on crime patterns and during the year the GPD added a full time crime analyst to focus on leads from the National Ballistics Information Network.
In a case of making lemons into lemonade, James in his report to City Council said that because the GPD was so shorthanded they had to concentrate on priorities and doing more with less, which had made the department more efficient.