• 61°

Clarifying crime statistics for the town of Spencer

By Reid Walters

For the Salisbury Post

As the Spencer town manager, it is necessary that I address a recent article in the Salisbury Post concerning a presentation by Chief Stokes to Salisbury City Council regarding Salisbury’s violent crime statistics.

Our town deals with many baseless perception issues, and while the chief’s comments and Post article were not meant to fuel those unjustified opinions, the ill-qualified statements have done just that. Chief Stokes stated that in 2014 Spencer’s violent crime per capita was higher than Salisbury’s and further qualified that Spencer was smaller than most cities on the list, implying that crime was more rampant due to a smaller population. Several aspects of the statistical analysis need further clarification. I will preface this clarification by stating that the town of Spencer and the city of Salisbury have an excellent working relationship. The intent of this clarification is simply to present some of the facts absent from the Salisbury Post article titled, “Police Chief: Gangs cause for most Salisbury gun violence.”

Spencer had a couple of unique situations in 2014 which jolted our violent crime statistics into a place not typical for our town: a double homicide at a known drug house where attempts were made to make undercover drug purchases, to no avail, and a domestic dispute that led to a stabbing.  In the first situation, the assailants were from Salisbury and were promptly arrested, and in the latter the Spencer Police had consistently made attempts to provide support resources, and the assailant was promptly arrested.  Not a good year for Spencer, and not a typical year either. What was not explained is that looking at crime trends it is atypical for Spencer’s crime rate to be higher than Salisbury’s. Using the same, scaled analysis Chief Stokes used in his presentation, Spencer’s rate of violent crime was 22 percent lower in 2015 and 68 percent lower than Salisbury’s in 2016.

Also, Spencer and China Grove are referenced in this report because these municipalities report the crime that occurs. Reporting crimes is not mandatory via state or federal law.  There are multiple municipalities in Rowan County that do not report crime statistics. Our police chief voluntarily reports all crimes that occur in our town. He does this because it is the right thing to do and we run an agency of integrity.  Furthermore, many of the competitive grants associated with police departments require the reporting of this data.

Spencer supports all efforts to help Salisbury, and all of Rowan County, combat crime. Indeed, our town proudly has an inter-local agreement with Salisbury. While there are no crime solutions in pointing to numbers there is the risk of creating unfounded and wrong perceptions when numbers are parsed or incorrectly presented.

 Reid Walters is Spencer’s town manager.

Comments

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT

Nation/World

D-Day survivor, WWII torch bearer Ray Lambert dies at 100

Nation/World

Prince Philip was always defined by role as husband of British queen

BREAKING NEWS

One dead, several injured after head-on collision in China Grove

Crime

Man, woman charged for selling drugs to undercover deputies

Crime

Blotter: Rowan County man charged with indecent liberties with children

Local

Spencer town board gets look at Park Plaza progress

Business

‘Applicant market’: Unemployment rate improving as businesses hire more workers

Local

National, local business leaders praise Salisbury’s initiative to support Black-owned operations

Nation/World

Tillis has prostate cancer surgery

Coronavirus

Adverse reactions surface from Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Nation/World

Expert: Lack of oxygen killed George Floyd, not drugs

Local

Quotes of the week

Nation/World

Biden seeks crackdown on homemade firearms

Nation/World

Victim of former NFL player’s rampage wrote of faith, life’s fragility

News

Wrongly imprisoned man gets $750,000

High School

West falls to Statesville, finishes second in NPC

Education

Middle, high school students head back to classes full time