What’s not on the agenda at the two-day virtual Greensboro City Council retreat this week is as telling as what is.
Two items that are supposed to be high on the City Council’s priority list are missing from the agenda – public safety and economic development.
First, there is no report from the Police Department and no discussion of what might help slow the dramatically increasing rate of violent crime. When the City Council reviewed the goals that it set at the 2020 retreat, it was noted that the goal was to reduce violent crime by 20 percent in two years.
In 2020, violent crime increased in Greensboro by 11 percent, which sounds bad, but it’s actually worse. Homicides increased by 36 percent from 2019, and 2019 set a record for homicides at 45, which was broken by 2020 with 61 homicides during the year. Even worse news is that so far in 2021 there have been almost double the number of homicides during the same period in 2020.
Aggravated assaults were also up 18 percent in 2020.
But there is no report from the police chief on the crime rate or how to reduce it on the agenda.
Councilmember Justin Outling once again asked about the staffing study that was supposed to be done last year to determine if the Police Department has staffing needs. Outling once again received the answer he has received before – that it was being worked on.
The City Council stated last year the goal was to reduce violent crime by 20 percent by 2020, but it didn’t take action to move toward that goal as the number of homicides kept increasing.
The absence of any discussion or presentation on econonmic development is also glaring. One of the stated goals in 2020 was to raise median household income by 15 percent by 2025. A reasonable way to accomplish this goal would be to recruit employers with higher paying jobs to Greensboro. In the chart presented at the retreat, Cary has a median household income of over $100,000 while Greensboro’s median household income is $48,974. That’s a lot of disparity for a city less than 80 miles away.
Increasing the median household income is a stated goal but, like reducing violent crime, the City Council set the goal and then showed so little interest that it is not even having a report on economic development at this two-day retreat.