Local News

Cary battles perception of growing crime problem

Posted September 19, 2014 5:51 p.m. EDT

— Considered by some to be one of the safest areas in the Triangle, Cary is coping with a recent spate of high-profile crimes.

The latest incident occurred Thursday, when two men were arrested after a shooting that ended in front of the Cary Police Department.

A chase that tore through the heart of downtown Cary led to reports of a shootout and to lockdowns at two elementary schools. Investigators said said the occupants of one car chased after a man in a second car after a drug deal went awry.

Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore said Friday that, in the chaos, what people thought was a shootout really wasn't.

"There was actually one shot fired," Bazemore said. "From the very first call we received, less than six minutes later,we had the four people in custody."

No one was hurt in the incident.

Chase Austin McKinley, 18, of Horizon Lane in Raleigh, and Nicholas Scott Jenkins, 21, of Sawyer Drive in Raleigh, were each charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and attempted first-degree murder. They were being held Friday in the Wake County jail under $1 million bonds.

The incident left Cary residents rattled.

"It used to be calm and quiet, and you wouldn't hear anything about crimes – people getting robbed or shot at – and now there's a lot going on," resident Sheyla Hernandez said.

"Lately, we’ve been conscious about watching, not going out on the greenways by ourselves at night, but other than that, I feel pretty secure here," resident Janet Griffin said.

Although Cary has had four homicides this year, which is the most ever for one year, Bazemore said major crime in the town is down 13 percent so far this year from last year. Still, she said she understands it's all about perception.

"Our concern is not whether you are safe, it's if you feel safe," she said. "The crimes people are hearing about are crimes against people, and that’s what makes people afraid."

The Cary Police Department has stepped up patrols in areas where there have been problems, and officers have held 145 community meetings so far this year to discuss safety and residents' concerns, she said.