Greensboro set an all-time record for homicides with 74 in 2023.
In 2022, Greensboro had a total of 42 homicides. So, 74 in 2023 is a 76 percent increase over the previous year. The average number of homicides a year in Greensboro is 48, meaning in 2023 Greensboro had 52 percent more homicides than the average year.
In 2023, the number of homicides in Greensboro had exceeded the number in 2022 and equaled the average of 48 on August 21. At that point there was no question that Greensboro would set a new record in 2023. The only question was how high the number would be.
The past record for homicides was 2020 when there were 62 homicides. The number of homicides fell to 53 in 2021 and then continued on a downward trend in 2022 with 42 homicides.
On June 30, 2023, the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) was down about 130 officers from the total number of sworn positions authorized in the budget of 689. On July 1, the number of vacancies in the GPD fell to 90, which sounds like a vast improvement. However, the number of sworn police officers didn’t increase – what the 2023-2024 budget did was reduce the number of sworn positions in the budget from 689 to 649.
Having 90 vacancies looks a lot better on paper than having 130, and from a budgeting standpoint it makes sense to eliminate unfilled positions that there is no chance of filling in the upcoming fiscal year. But it doesn’t put any additional police officers out on the street.
The City Council did take action in the budget to attempt to help recruit new officers to the Greensboro Police Department by raising the starting salary to $55,000 and raising all the police salaries in accordance with the increase in the starting salary. The City Council actually voted to raise the starting salary for police officers to $57,000, but City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba was adamant that the salaries only be raised to $55,000, and the majority of the City Council backed down. The salary increase was also delayed from the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1 to September.
The City Council has been told repeatedly that one of the major impediments to hiring new police officers is that in Greensboro, unlike every competing law enforcement agency in the state, does not provide take-home cars for its patrol officers. As a result, on Nov. 18, 2021, the City Council voted to provide an additional 20 police cars each year for five years in order to provide the additional 100 police cars necessary for each patrol officer to have a take-home car. A year and half after that vote, on July 7, 2023, the first 10 of those additional police cars were actually provided to police officers.