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Rocky Mount Mayor: Crime Prevention a Focus in 2008

Posted January 2, 2008

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— Rocky Mount's newly elected mayor said Wednesday curbing crime will be more of a focus for the city in 2008, following a year in which violent crime left the community on edge.

"I think it's going to be a community effort," Mayor David Combs said. "It's not just going to be what the police can do and what the city can do.

The city had 14 homicides in 20007, the most in 12 years – and two less than the city's record. Several were high-profile cases, one of which remains unsolved.

Police investigated numerous shootings, many gang-related, some at local clubs.

"There are some things the police department has done, certainly, as they've focused more on gang activity," Combs said. "I think the clubs are certainly something we're trying to look at."

Combs, a lifelong Rocky Mount resident and former City Council member who took office at the end of December, said the city is also hiring more police officers and is looking at closing clubs where violence has repeatedly been a problem.

Other possibilities include adding more security around areas where violence is a problem and public surveillance cameras.

Combs said they the city also plans to work closely with the police department to find out what other resources they need.

The Rocky Mount United Way also recently applied for a grant to build a new program that director Ginny Mohrbutter said would educate the public more on gang prevention and what is happening in the community.

The United Way felt the direct impact of violent crime last year when its two Meals on Wheels workers were stabbed at a local church while trying to help a passer-by. One was killed; the other is still recovering from her injuries.

"From that, we want to make our community stronger," Mohrbutter said. "We want to find solutions."

Combs said he hopes more focus from all sides will help bring a safer new year.

8 Comments

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  • voiceofreason32 Jan 3, 2008

    Rocky Mount should do whatever Wilson did. I remember when Wilson was considered the unsafe city to visit and Rocky Mount was the nice place to come. The wilson police department is very professional and higher paying. They also have take home cars. Rocky Mount needs to cut some of the "welfare" programs they have tried to set up for downtown and pump that money into law enforcement.

  • Hip-Shot Jan 3, 2008

    I agree with you "IloveLucy", we are part of the same annexation. The city has little industry, no businesses will locate there, crime is terrible, utilities are outrageous, and the city is very greedy.I'm irritated that they cater to the retirement community that someone spoke of previously. I am very bitter about the involuntary annexation. We only rebuilt after Floyd because our property was out of the city limits, and we lost most everything then. My wife is afraid to go out at night shopping due to the thugs that hang around the mall and places like Wal-Mart.

    As far as employment I have to commute/telecommute to Raleigh each day because there is nothing to do here...little opportunity. I have a 4 year degree on IT with Cisco certifications but have to look elswhere for work. Good luck Mr. Combs, you need it.

  • LoneWolf72 Jan 2, 2008

    dontlookback, where'd you go to high school? what year?
    RMSH class of '90 here...I have been gone a while myself...share your sentiments about RM...hurts to say it because that will always be home...I sincerely wish the mayor and the entire community good luck. RM deserves better..could be a great city again but it won't be easy.

  • dontlookback Jan 2, 2008

    I grew up in RM and it used to be a nice place to live and work. But now RM has alot more issues besides the high crime rate that make it such an undesirable place to live - outrageous utility rates, a city council that spends more time fighting amongst themselves than doing anything else, a police force thats too scared to run off the gangs downtown, and outsiders coming in trying to turn it into some kind of senior retirement community. I moved from there a year ago but my parents still live there, and I fear for their safety every day. Good luck, Mr. Mayor - you should've stayed in real estate.

  • Josey Wales Jan 2, 2008

    Rocky Mount is passed the tipping point. The citizens that live there just don`t care. They think crime will not happen to them. Until somebody down there develops a backbone to stand up to those thugs the situation will deteriorate more and more rapidly. No wonder people are moving away from the " City on Demise ".

  • gopanthers Jan 2, 2008

    I have family in R.M. so I'm not being sarcastic - GOOD LUCK MISTER MAYOR!

  • Big Tarheel Fan Jan 2, 2008

    I totally agree with you (whatusay) I have lived in RM for 30 years and raised 3 children here with a husband of 28 years. Until someone has enough guts to step up to the plate and deal with the real issues then it will just continue to get worse.Unfortunately we are reaping the rewards of a failed welfare system that started 20 years ago. We live in a subdivision that was involuntarily annexed into the city effective June 2008 which we fought against and lost. We are considering moving and alot of our friends and family are as well. The kids that have grown up in these single family homes not only do they have no guidance, but they have no respect,no morals and are searching for love and a sense of belonging. They join gangs and get involved in drugs, crimes and murders. Then the legal system slaps them on the wrist and they continue on. Its like a never ending battle. They need to get rid of the daycare centers they call a prison and make it a place you DON'T want to visit.

  • hdsoftail Jan 2, 2008

    amen to the do away with welfare, but the tree huggers will not let that happen. Mr. Mayor you have a job on your hands.