Albemarle stats show decrease in crime in 2021, 2022

Published 2:29 pm Friday, August 25, 2023

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In his annual report to the City Council, Albemarle Police Chief Jason Bollhorst provided statistics that indicate a downward trend in total crimes for both 2021 and 2022.

The report, which tracks police activity through December 2022, examined total crime cases for a five-year period beginning in 2018. Statistics showed a rise in crimes beginning that year and
peaking at 1,056 in 2020. A steep decrease, however, began in 2021 with crimes falling to 871 that year, and continuing to fall to 714 in 2022.

He credited the entire city police force in the crime reduction.

“The proactive efforts of our officers, detectives, supervisors and civilian staff have resulted in a record low year in total crime, in comparison over the previous five years,” he said.

Likewise, calls for service in 2022 showed a slight (4%) decrease, falling from 31,805 in 2021, compared to 30,639 in 2022.

“Of these calls, 19,920 were citizen-initiated, plus 7,332 initiated by officers, along with 3,387 vehicle stops,” Bollhorst said.

The department’s Patrol Division reported 1,025 collisions, 132 of which resulted in personal injury and one death.

“We only had one fatality in 2022,” Bollhorst said. “That was a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle. The pedestrian was hit while walking after midnight in a dark area.”

Other patrol activity included 54 DWI arrests, 28 reckless driving citations, 194 speeding violations, 60 seat belt violations and 30 violations of child car seat restraint laws.

In an effort to increase safety for young passengers in vehicles, Bollhorst noted that APD is active in providing community training for car seat installation.

“We have continued the car seat installation program and we are actually meeting with the Fire Department to assist the public in installing their car seats and assuring they are properly seated and fitted for their child,” he said.

Bollhorst noted that additional staff training opportunities for officers and supervisors had been implemented during 2022, including de-escalation techniques, use of force, legal updates and public interaction. In addition, the police department has participated in community engagement opportunities, partnering with Stanly County Schools, Albemarle Parks and Recreation, Albemarle Downtown Development and Atrium Health, among others.

Like many other agencies and businesses, APD is currently operating with less than a full staff, a matter Bollhorst addressed in closing.

“We would like to build about a 17% reserve of officers,” he said, noting that this would translate to “an elevation of about five or six more officers.”

“We hope to get full (staff) in the next 18 months, and we currently have four officers in the academy. That will provide us an opportunity to handle some of the expansion and growth that the city is seeing,” he said.

Councilman Benton Dry asked, “How many more personnel do you need to be at full staffing?”

“Currently, we have nine vacancies,” replied Bollhorst.

In closing, Councilman Chris Bramlett thanked Bollhorst for one significant statistic.

“Thank you for there being no murders this year in the city,” he said.

“I appreciate that as well,” Bollhorst replied.