Local News

Rocky Mount City Council, Police Chief to Discuss Rise in Violent Crime

Posted January 27, 2008
Updated January 28, 2008

— Lowering the violent crime rate will be the focus of a meeting Monday afternoon between Rocky Mount Police Chief John Manley and the City Council.

So far this month, three people have been slain in the city.

Rocky Mount had 14 homicides in 2007, the most in 12 years – and two fewer than the city's record. Several of those were high-profile cases, and one remains unsolved.

"It was a total surprise to all of us," Rocky Mount Councilman W.B. Bullock said.

One of the recent homicides happened just a few blocks from Bullock's home.

Shots were fired into a house at 2805 Pelham Road shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, police said. One stray bullet hit and killed 27-month-old Jamir Whitaker.

"Not only is it heartbreaking, but it makes you sick to realize that people have no more respect for one another than this," Bullock said.

Another recent crime was discovered at 1247 Compass Creek Drive. The bodies of Leona Johnson, 50, and her roommate, Deborah Scriven, 44, were found on Dec. 21.

Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in that case.

Most violent crimes, police said, are the result of gangs and drugs. Bullock said he thinks expanding outreach efforts to help keep teens out of trouble would help curb the violence. 

"Instead of having an argument and pulling a gun and shooting someone, we have got to teach these kids this is not the way," he said.

Bullock is also in favor of increasing the number of police on patrol.

"Everywhere we can have a presence of an officer and a vehicle, I think will help us," he said.

Manley said fighting crime needs to be a community-wide effort.

It is important "to encourage citizens to report crime when they see it, not to sit back and think someone else is going to do it, or not take responsibility for problems in the neighborhood,” he said.

Manley also told WRAL that extra measures were being taken to prevent violence, such as putting more officers on the streets. Last year, the police department confiscated more than 200 handguns.


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  • retired and luv it Jan 29, 2008

    Clean house of ineffective officials and put some consequences in the gang mentality. The white blight is setting into Rocky Mount. Lose the taxpayers and leaders to the suburbs (Black and White) and you are left with the welfare, street gang mentality that is gaining ground in our inner cities. There is an obvious reluctance of officials to attack head on and the deacent people that have enough pride to make any difference are leaving.

  • Giggity Jan 28, 2008

    I don't let my wife go to Golden East Mall here in RM by herself. We are planning to move as soon as we can swing it financially. Call it rats leaving the ship or "white flight"....I don't care. I call it protecting my family by removing them from a dangerous environment. I would love to say that we are going to stay and everything will improve but I am a realist. Raper, Penney, Manley and the other "leaders" in our community have let the city go to pot and it's going to take a lot more than meetings with city council members and a sound bite on WRAL to change things. Thanks for listening.

  • ooooooooooooooooo Jan 28, 2008

    Sorry for the misspell....believe should have been belief. Sorry!

  • dt27612 Jan 28, 2008

    You all don't have a clue. Must be nice living in the burbs... The things that bothers me, you got a church on every corner, where are they in all this?

  • ooooooooooooooooo Jan 28, 2008

    Until something is done about the mass production of babies for the sake of being on welfare, it is only going to escalate the crime problem. In about 10 yrs. after one is born they are either living off welfare (with mass production in mind) or living the life of a criminal. One way or the other they are constantly bleeding the hard working person right on down. It is really something that has gotten out of hand. How can it be resolved? Only God knows and it is probably going to take a rude awakening for everyone before a better society is back in existance. Or, the hard working people will have to take it into their own hands and bring back the eye for any eye believe. SAD!!

  • whatusay Jan 28, 2008

    How about a new approach to these problems...
    1. If a child is born to unmarried parents the government will not pay a dime to support either. Live with parents, a friend, or give the child up for adoption, or put them in a foster home.
    2. Make it mandantory for a convicted criminal to speak publically at schools against crime. This would be more difficult than the jail time alone.
    3. Do not let any criminal out of jail until they have a job.
    Plenty of minimum wage jobs that the illegals are doing while the government pays welfare for the criminal to sit home. Don't show up for work - back to jail.
    4. Drivers license good for day time driving only...unless going or coming from work. (This should be until they prove themselves worthy). One slip up and back to jail.

  • REDRD Jan 28, 2008

    Guess what RM, the folks that were taking care of the tax liability for operations of the city and it's munincipal affairs have already made their decision on how well you are managing the city, it's government(including the police department)and every other aspect. They left! They're living in Red Oak and Nashville and the urban areas of Nash and Edgecombe counties, pat yourself on the back for your RM revitalization program; while you were letting the rest of the city got to pot. Like my grandmother used to say, "puttin' lipstick on a hog don't make you want to kiss it!" Property values in the city limit are pathetic; but then again you reap what you sow!

  • AM is Back to Being Immaculate Jan 28, 2008

    I understand the need to nelong and feel like a part of a family but join a sports team, go to the Y, heck GO TO SCHOOL.

    Gangs only land you in 2 places, the MORGUE or PRISON

  • holmesap Jan 28, 2008

    I agree with Chief Manley to a certain point. It is going to take a community effort to get things under control. The citizens, city leaders, churches, schools and law enforcemnet. When jobs are not that great in this area and the payscale is even worse. When utilites are higher than your house payment and you are constantly being taxed to death. What do you expect? Crime is and will continue to climb. As for the citizens reporting things they see that are illegal and turning the criminals in, they first have to get back the trust they once had in the police department or any other law enforcement agency. They call and it takes forever for an officer to respond. Then what happens the criminals get locked up and the judges or magistrates sat themm free. We need leadership in the city and the police department. We need to see the chief not just hear him when he is forced to talk.

  • rmgirl Jan 28, 2008

    amvaugha says: "I have never understood the concept of gangs." Gangs give a sense of belonging to something...as surrogate family, but not based on unconditional love, respect, and dignity. Instead one must prove themselves to be worthy of being a member. It is evident that most of the gang members are children born to unwed mothers who do not have a family to which they belong. Human nature makes us want to be loved and needed and if you don't get that at home, you look for it elsewhere...in a gang, in promiscuous relationships, drugs. I am not sure that a police department can change a cultural perspective but they can enforce the law and not perpetuate the problems.