The final Greensboro Police Annual Report under the leadership of Police Chief Brian James shows marked improvement in reducing crime.
James announced in April that he would be retiring from the Greensboro Police Department on May 31. After joining the Greensboro Police Department in 1996, James rose through the ranks and officially took over as chief on Feb. 1, 2020.
The annual report shows that homicides were down 15 percent in 2021. Aggravated assaults are down 1 percent, but that is a somewhat misleading figure since the FBI decided to include child abuse cases in the aggravated assault category in 2021, and previously child abuse cases were in a separate category.
Robberies were down 6 percent, and burglaries down 21 percent.
Those figures are more impressive when you consider that the Police Department throughout the year was down over a hundred officers from its authorized force of 679 sworn officers and the trend is heading in the wrong direction with the number of vacancies increasing.
The number of guns seized increased by 41 percent to 1,772.
But the number of traffic fatalities increased by 49 percent and the number of drug overdoses was up 25 percent, with overdose deaths up 8 percent.
The number of drug charges was up 61 percent.
The number of calls for service in 2021 was 218,677 compared to 193,865 in 2020. So the number of police officers is going down and the calls for service are going up.
Even with calls for service up, the number of citizen complaints fell from 87 in 2020 to 67 in 2021.
In March 2021, James launched the “500 Jobs for Teens” campaign and, starting the program from scratch, managed to get commitments from area companies to provide 580 summer jobs for teens through the program.
Another program launched by James in 2021 was Community Connections, which challenged local leaders to look at the root causes of violent crime and seek long-term solutions.