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Santa Patrol: Salisbury Police implement crime deterrent initiative

SALISBURY — As the holidays draw near, residents will begin to see more Salisbury Police Department presence while out shopping, says Police Chief Jerry Stokes.

Partnering with the U.S. Department of Justice, the department identified crime trends that showed during the months of October through December, more residents are the victims of property crimes.

The department recognized an opportunity to review trends in larceny, burglary and robbery, as well as heft of and from motor vehicles.

“As the colder weather hits, we’ll have a rash of cars running in the driveway, and 80 percent of our break-ins are cars that are unlocked,” Stokes said.

Data review

The Public Safety Partnership Diagnostic Team reviewed crime data from the last quarter of 2014 through 2017.

“We looked at all of our data and it gave us where our problem spots are,” Stokes said.

He said burglaries could be a matter of supply and demand. For instance, people who are shopping for electronics over the holidays may become targets of break-ins.

While clusters of larcenies have been consistent year over year, efforts by Salisbury police proved effective in reducing the number of larcenies from 2016 to 2017 in the area of Klumac Road between South Jake Alexander Boulevard and Julian Road, according to the data.

The increased efforts around Klumac Road could be the reason for an increase in larcenies along Jake Alexander Boulevard from Mooresville Road to Brenner Avenue beginning in 2017.

Burglaries increased year over year from 2014 to 2016, generally across the city.

Robberies fluctuated year over year from 2014 to 2017, with incidents widespread across the city from 2014 to 2016.

In 2017, the analysis revealed three clustered areas: West End Plaza, West Jake Alexander Boulevard between Brenner Avenue and Lincolnton Road, and East Innes Street between North Long Street and South Jake Alexander Boulevard.

Overall, the data shows that 2017 robbery clusters overlap three of the four main clusters of larceny incidents. While burglaries often occur in residential locations, in 2017 a cluster of burglaries near West End Plaza overlapped with both larcenies and robberies.

Santa Patrol 2018

The initiative, called Santa Patrol 2018, is designed to reduce thefts in areas with a high incidence of them.

The highest concentration is East Innes Street in the vicinity of Arlington Street and the Interstate 85 overpass.

Stokes said the areas with the most incidents are Salisbury Shopping Center, across from Walmart and the shops at Innes Street Station, near the former Kmart.

Other high-incident areas are Towne Creek Commons near East Innes and North Arlington streets; Innes Street Market on Faith Road; Wallace Commons on Klumac Road; Ketner Center off West Innes Street and Mahaley Avenue; Alexander Pointe on West Jake Alexander Boulevard; and the downtown shopping district.

Stokes said the plan is to add foot and vehicle patrols each day in the shopping areas. Some officers will be in in plain clothes and unmarked cars while others will be in uniform and riding in patrol cars.

Residents will also see the Rowan County Incident Command Unit parked in some shopping areas. The unit will be used for shift briefings and meetings.

Officers will also go into neighborhoods to tell residents to “lock it, take it or lose it” — a reminder to lock vehicles and take items with you.

There is no specific item thieves look for in a vehicle, officials say. Anything left in a vehicle — a laptop, cellphone, GPS device or iPad as well as money can be stolen.

There have been 283 vehicle break-ins in the city since Jan. 1 and 99 vehicles stolen since Jan. 1, which equates to 38 vehicle-related thefts per month and more than one per day.

Stokes suggests residents utilize Leads Online, a tool designed to store serial numbers for valuables. Officials recommend taking pictures or video of valuables that can be stored in the cloud.

Residents can visit https://reportit.leadsonline.com to securely store serial numbers, item descriptions, pictures and scans of receipts so that in the event of a theft or loss, the items can more easily be identified.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity, people or vehicles in a neighborhood or other area should contact the Salisbury Police Department anonymously at 911 for emergencies or at the non-emergency number, 704-638-5333.

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