Local News

Major Crimes Drop 15 Percent in Fayetteville, In Spite Of Population Explosion

Posted August 2, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— New data shows the streets of theFayettevilleare safer than they have been in years. The numbers are significant because the city has grown in size through annexation. But even with the growth, crime has gone down.

Pat Smith says her Bonnie Doone neighborhood was not safe for years. She saw drug dealing and prostitution out her window.

"It wasn't safe for kids to be outside," Smith says.

But in the last few years, things have gotten better.

"We were afraid to go out at night, afraid to let kids out of our eyesight. Now we walk to our neighbors, the kids are outside playing," Smith says.

The streets in Smith's neighborhood are not the only ones that are safer. From 1994 to 1998, more than 44,000 people have been annexed into the city of Fayetteville. Even with all the new residents, major crimes have gone down by 15 percent.

The head of patrol at the Fayetteville Police Department credits the decrease to an overall consistency in total policing.

"When we do our day-to-day policing, our standards are always the same. It doesn't really fluctuate from day to day," says Maj. Phil Cannady. He also believe community involvement has made a difference.

"When we go into a community and they are interested in improving the quality of life then everything just comes together and it works," Cannady says.

The decrease in crime is continuing this year as well. In the first six months of this year, murders are down 29 percent, rapes are down 14 percent and robberies are down 2 percent over the same period last year.

Anna Hause has lived in her neighborhood for 17 years. She sees the difference.

"It's just good old-fashioned living like the way it used to be -- the American Dream," Hause says.

Residents say there is still a lot of work to be done, but they are encouraged by the decrease in crime.

Fayetteville police say much of their success comes from realizing they cannot solve every problem. When patrolmen and investigators are looking into a crime, they often find other problems. They refer people to other city agencies to help solve those problems. They believe that improves overall quality of life.