ALBEMARLE POLICE: Crime declined in 2023

Published 3:23 pm Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Albemarle City Council received a detailed annual report on the operations of the Albemarle Police Department at its April 15 meeting.

“APD will continue to combat crime challenges through community policing strategies,” stated APD Chief Jason Bollhorst in the foreword to the report. “Our tactics will continue to demonstrate our dedication to integrity, accountability, fairness to all and the value of our continued and future positive relationships.”

Perhaps the most significant statistics in the report were those of crime within the city during the previous year, with overall reductions in both violent crime and property crime compared to 2022.

In 2023, violent crimes (homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) fell by 1%. This marked the fifth consecutive year of a downward trend of such crimes, accounting for a 15% decrease since 2019.

Property crimes (burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, and arson) saw an even larger decrease overall, dropping 4% below the previous year. Although burglaries increased in 2023, reductions in thefts and arson accounted for the lower overall number.

As such, crime in general fell by 3.7% in Albemarle in 2023, and has shown an overall reduction of 23% over the past five years.

Bollhorst credited the department’s principles as a key in the lower crime rates.

“What sets APD apart is our proactive approach,” he said, citing a number of community programs and initiatives such as collaboration with Stanly County Schools, provision of school resource officers at each school in the city, the annual “Back to School Bash,” the D.A.R.E. program, the Junior Police Academy and the annual Community Night Out.

In addition, the department partners with community organizations including the Stanly County Partnership for Children, Stanly County Family YMCA, Stanly County Safe Kids Coalition and Special Olympics of Stanly County.
Bollhorst noted the department’s progress in battling the influx of illegal drugs, which affect all cities.

“In 2023, APD successfully removed various types of illegal drugs from the street, valued at a total of $266,812. These seizures occurred through traffic stops, arrests and as a result of search warrants conducted,” he said.

With the seizure of illegal drugs, the city’s overdose incidents fell by over half.

“Overdoses in general fell from 94 in 2022 to 43 in 2023, a 55% reduction, and fatal overdoses fell from four (2022) to two (2023).

APD received five citizen-initiated and 10 supervisor-initiated complaints regarding officer conduct and procedures during 2023.

“When you take into account that APD officers responded to 29,182 calls for service during 2023, that comes to only .00051%,” Bollhorst reported.

Persons seeking a career in policing have also sought out APD, as there were 117 applicants for open positions in the department during 2023, marking a 43% increase over the previous year.

“In 2023, we hired four students (who are sent to Basic Law Enforcement Training at Stanly Community College), with four graduating and starting their career with the department,” he said.

The full 2023 APD Annual Report is available at APD headquarters at 155 W. South St. in Albemarle.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.