Although violent crime was up last year nationwide, Greensboro Police Chief Brian James had some good news for the City Council at the council retreat on Thursday, March 24 about violent crime in Greensboro.

James noted that homicides in Greensboro were down 15 percent in 2021 compared to 2020.  He said that while the reduction was not as much as the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) and the City Council wanted, when you considered that violent crime continued to increase across the country, it was a significant reduction.

James said that the strategy of combining multiple units throughout the GPD to work together appeared to be having an effect.  He said, “Primarily we are at the right places, at the right times and talking to the right people.”

Rapes in 2021 were also down 15 percent, aggravated assault with a firearm was down 17 percent, and robbery with a firearm was down 18 percent.

Robbery was up 7 percent and, in a misleading statistic, aggravated assault was up 30 percent from 2020 to 2021.

It is misleading statistic as Councilmember Tammi Thurm pointed out because in 2021 the FBI decided to include child abuse cases as aggravated assault cases.  Previously child abuse cases were in a separate category.

James said that he would see if the child abuse cases could be backed out of the aggravated assault figures in order to compare the aggravated assault cases from 2020 with those from 2021.

James also noted that while homicides were down in 2021 compared to 2020, the five year average for homicides in Greensboro was 45 per year, and that 2021 was above that average.

James said that the effort to get more guns off the street was continuing to be a success and that in 2021 the GPD seized 1,772 firearms, which was a 41 percent increase over 2020 when 1,261 firearms were seized.