Raleigh police chief: 29 of 30 murders in 2021 solved

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh police have made arrests in 29 of the city’s 30 homicides in 2021, Chief Estella Patterson said Wednesday.

The chief spoke at a community “listening session” hosted virtually by city council member David Knight. She touched on crime trends, concerns over traffic, and the department’s efforts to recruit and retain police officers.

Patterson revealed the 30 homicides in Raleigh to date in 2021 were just a slight increase over 2020 and 2019 totals, when the city saw 27 and 28 homicides respectively.

However, the city has seen a much larger increase in other forms of violent crime.

According to data police released Wednesday, aggravated assaults are up 16 percent compared to 2019, and cases involving shootings are up 10 percent.

Patterson said RPD is partnering with federal agencies like the FBI, DEA, and ATF in an effort to cut down on these cases.

“I am focusing much of our resources in those areas,” she said.

Patterson reported while thefts of items from vehicles are down this year, the city has seen an increase in vehicles themselves stolen.

The city is also reporting an increase in traffic fatalities – with 39 so far in 2021, compared to 33 in 2019.

That includes a dozen people killed on Raleigh roads in October alone. Patterson said in most cases speed was a factor.

As the department works to solve crime and traffic concerns, Patterson said her command staff is also focused on officer wellness, workload, and staffing.

“We want to make sure our officers have a balance,” she said, pointing to action committees she created to address morale, schedules, and workload.

It’s a challenge exacerbated by staffing challenges Raleigh police – like other agencies across the Triangle, and country – have faced.

“We are losing officers to retirement and we are losing officers because they no longer want to be in this profession,” Patterson said.

She pointed to a recruitment plan the department has put together, but cautioned, filling vacancies will take time.

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