Raleigh, N.C. — Robberies are up more than 50 percent from last year in Raleigh, prompting police to begin providing officers with special training to target suspected thieves.
Through Monday, 363 robberies had been reported in Raleigh this year – about three each day – compared with 240 through the same date a year ago.
Convenience stores, restaurants and people walking downtown have been prime targets.
"A guy in a black-hooded sweatshirt came around the corner, pretty much stuck a gun in my face and told me to empty out my pockets," robbery victim Stephon Emmons said recently.
"You have to be concerned any time you go to work," convenience store owner James Byers said. "This could be it. You may not go home that day. That's a terrifying feeling for anyone that has a family."
Some robberies have turned into homicides:
- A cab driver was fatally stabbed a week ago by a fare. Two people have been charged in the case.
- A convenience store manager was shot and killed during a robbery attempt this month. No one has been arrested in the case.
Police declined to divulge details of the "suppression training," but said it would focus on reducing the number of robberies in the city.
The number of robbery arrests is also up this year, police said.
Through Sunday, 127 people had been charged in 197 robberies, compared with 96 people charged in 112 cases a year ago.