The latest crime data report from the City of Greensboro indicates that the city will not set a new record for homicides in 2021.
In both 2019 and 2020, the city did set new records for the number of homicides, so while it’s not great news that Greensboro will most likely have fewer than 63 homicides in 2021, it is evidence that the numbers are moving in the right direction.
Through Nov. 14, Greensboro had 46 homicides compared to 51 in 2020. So while the year-end total isn’t likely to be down where the Greensboro Police Department and City Council would like to see it, at least it isn’t continuing to climb.
The number of homicides committed with a firearm in 2021 is 43, which is exactly the same as the same time period in 2020.
Aggravated assaults are up in 2021 with 1,736 compared to 1,690 in 2020, but the number of aggravated assaults with a firearm is down slightly this year with 986 compared to 1,099 in 2020.
Gun seizures continue to be well above what they were in 2020 with 1,603 this year compared to 1,036 last year. Greensboro Police Chief Brian James has said that the GPD was committed to getting more guns off the streets this year and the methods being used appear to be having an effect.
One of the key metrics that isn’t getting any better is the number of vacancies in the GPD. The GPD is reporting 111 vacancies. There are 53 not fully trained or assigned personnel, which includes those in the Police Academy, field training, lateral hires that haven’t completed their training as well as pre-hires. The pre-hires are individuals who have applied for and been accepted for the Police Academy but have not yet enrolled. Members of the Greensboro Police Academy become city employees when classes begin.
James explained to the City Council that the normal attrition rate for the Police Department is 60 officers a year, which means each Police Academy class needs to graduate 30 officers just for the GPD to stay even. James said the Police Academy can handle about 40 students in a class and two classes are held each year, which means even if both classes in a year graduated the maximum number of students, it would only reduce the vacancy rate by 20. Or in other words, for the Police Department to reach its full authorized force, each Police Academy class would have to graduate the maximum number of officers every year for five years.
The good news as far as the number of vacancies in the GPD is that it has been stable for the past four months. In August the number of vacancies was 107, in September 110 and in October 108.