Federal crime designation to change

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

By July, Part 1 and Part 2 crimes will have different distinctions, said Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House during his town hall Chat with the Chief Jan. 16.

House begins the quarterly chats by presenting a crime stat update.

Part 1 crimes include homicide, sexual assault, robbery, violent assault, burglary, larceny, motor theft and arson, he explained.

“The federal government is changing this, instead of having Part 1 and then other crimes are to go to incident-based reporting, which goes completely into effect in July,” House said.

He said the Wrightsville Beach Police Department has been using incident-based reporting for a while, but now that the federal government is making the switch, there will be more accurate readings of crime stats.

House said an example is North Carolina’s five or six different assault categories compared to the two used by the federal government, violent and nonviolent assault.

 “Our crime rate has gone down,” House said, referencing the period from October through December 2013. “We have had some breaking and enterings that are happening.”

Weapons and driving while intoxicated charges have gone down, along with glass on the beach and alcohol violations.

But House attributes the real reason for the decline in glass on the beach and alcohol violations to people concealing better.

More civil citations, often animal or surfing related, are being upheld than in previous years, with 11 appeals denied, 17 upheld and zero amended.

“The ones that come in now seem to have a lot more merit than they did in the past,” House said.

During a Q-and-A, former alderman Bill Sisson asked about door-to-door solicitors without identification, recalling solicitors he had seen during spring 2013.

“That’s one really convenient way to case houses,” Sisson said.

House said, if nothing else, officers can go where solicitors are located and conduct field interviews for documentation.

This week House is going to look at Wilmington’s security cameras to see about possible replacements for the six cameras between downtown Wrightsville Beach and Salisbury Street. The current cameras do not have zoom capabilities or provide as much detail as detectives need to solve certain crimes.

And coming this summer following training, there will be more officers on bicycles.

As part of budget preparation and an effort to increase long-term planning, the police department is specifying the funding of larger items in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). 

“We’ve got it planned out now all the way to 2023,” House said. “… We’re getting ready to buy a truck in this year’s budget and in 2023 I’ve got in our CIP line to have the money collected so that when that truck’s up for replacement, the money is already banked in the CIP.”

email kelly@luminanews.com

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