WSPD lays out plan to fight violent crimes in 2020

In 2019 the Winston-Salem Police Department seized 900 guns.

WSPD lays out plan to fight  violent crimes in 2020
January 30
10:51 2020

Following one of the deadliest years on record, local law enforcement is looking to crack down on violent crime. During a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 21, Chief Catrina Thompson with the Winston-Salem Police Department, Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, District Attorney Jim O’Neil, several elected officials, and representatives from other agencies came together to discuss the plan to fight violence in 2020. 

Violent crimes are defined as crimes in which an offender uses or threatens to use force on a victim. Some of those crimes include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In recent years, while the number of robberies has decreased, aggravated assaults have increased by 14%. When looking at the number of homicides in the city in 2019, there were 31 murders, the most in more than 25 years, up from 26 in 2017 and 2018. According to Chief Thompson, in 2019 the WSPD seized 900 guns and has already seized an additional 19 in 2020. 

To cut down on the number of violent crimes, Thompson discussed several initiatives that the WSPD will continue and others that are new. She mentioned the continuation of NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network), a network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving crimes involving firearms. She also discussed the efforts of the Gang Unit and the newly formed Violent Firearm Investigation Team (VFIT), which is comprised of detectives who are specially trained in the area of ballistic evidence examination. 

The WSPD also plans to deploy a gunfire detection system that uses acoustic sensors to detect, identify, and triangulate the source of sounds that represent gunfire in a designated area. The system then authenticates the acoustic signal to classify the event as possible gunfire before automatically reporting the incident to local law enforcement.  

After giving a rundown of the 2020 Violence Prevention Plan, Chief Thompson said, “We cannot do this alone. Violent crime is not just a law enforcement problem, it’s not just a criminal justice problem, it is a community problem and it will take our community working together to eradicate the violence.”

Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said his vision for 2020 is to continue the Saturation Patrol, which is a partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and WSPD, that will enable officers to respond to discharged firearms calls citywide. 

“We are totally committed to all the partnerships that you see present in this room because at the end of the day, we’re in this together and crime has no respect of boundaries and we will see that we address it as it occurs,” Kimbrough said. 

Other agencies, organizations, and individuals who have vowed to join the fight against violent crime in Winston-Salem include the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Matthew Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of N.C., and the City of Winston-Salem.

To wrap up the press conference, Chief Thompson had some stern words for those committing violent crimes throughout the city. She said, “We will not tolerate violent crime in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, period.

“We’re not going to allow you to continue to victimize, terrorize, or criminalize our citizens here, our visitors here, our businesses here. You have heard from our partners, you’ve heard from our city officials, we’re going to use every ounce of resources we have available to go after you and prosecute you to the fullest extent. That is our promise, that is our commitment, that is our vision for 2020.”

The press conference can be viewed in its entirety by visiting the City of Winston-Salem’s YouTube channel.

About Author

Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors