Greensboro has had 61 homicides so far in 2020.
That breaks all previous records. The previous record for Greensboro was 45 homicides in 2019. In 2018 there were 40 homicides, which makes it look like an unwelcome pattern.
The Greensboro City Council finally held a work seåssion on violent crime on Dec. 1 and talked about offering “immediate” help to the Police Department.
No immediate help has been forthcoming. The only help was an administrative decision that did not require City Council approval to use the salaries from the funded but unfilled positions in the Police Department to pay officers overtime to make up for the lack of manpower.
But at the work session on Tuesday, Jan. 5, the Greensboro City Council is set to start the process of writing an ordinance that according to Mayor Nancy Vaughan will help quell the violence. The council is scheduled to discuss reviving an ordinance to place requirements on nightclubs and bars to provide security. According to an email from Vaughan to city councilmembers and city staff, the reason for working on this ordinance is the increase in violence in the city related to places that sell alcohol.
Vaughan states, “But right now some of our nightlife has become a detriment. We have seen an increase in violent crime connected to establishments that serve alcohol.”
However, the data doesn’t support that statement.
The information that was attached to the email has a list of aggravated assaults and homicides in 2020 listed by the places that they occurred through Sept. 24. Of the 39 homicides in Greensboro during that time, three occurred at a “Bar/Nightclub.” During that same time 10 homicides occurred on “Highway/Road/Alley/Street/Sidewalk” areas for which the City Council is responsible, not bar or nightclub owners.
“Residence/Home” accounted for 16 homicides the most in any category and over five times the number in bars and nightclubs.
“Hotel/Motel/Etc.” accounted for two homicides, only one less than bars and nightclubs, but there is no move by Vaughan to force hotels and motels to have a certain number of trained security guards on duty. But it is early in the discussion so that could be added, along with convenience stores that had one homicide.
It is no wonder that there have been so few homicides in bars and nightclubs in 2020 because Gov. Roy Cooper ordered bars closed at 5 p.m. on March 17, and bars were not allowed to reopen until Oct. 2 and then under heavy restrictions. Even now bars can only serve customers outdoors.
Looking at the data for 2020, one could argue that Greensboro is much safer when bars and nightclubs are open because in this year when they were closed for most of the year Greensboro has had the highest number of homicides in history.