Raleigh police target repeat robbers and 'no snitch' street code
New training, more officers and help from the public are on Police Chief Harry Dolan's checklist for combating the rise in Raleigh robberies.
Robberies are up more than 50 percent from last year, with 394 reported through Tuesday – or an average of a little more than three per day in 2008.
"We are very concerned about the armed robbery numbers," the chief said. "We've seen a trend over the last three years of increasing numbers of armed robberies, but particularly this year it's been even more troubling."
Police officers are taking special training to identify suspected thieves, and Dolan is seeking tougher penalties for those who are caught.
A Domino's Pizza on New Bern Avenue was among the latest targets. An armed robber got away with hundreds of dollars and smashed the tape from the store surveillance system before leaving, according to police reports.
In two recent cases, the criminals turned to homicide.
- A cab driver was fatally stabbed April 21. Two people were charged in the case.
- A convenience store manager was shot and killed April 10 during an early morning robbery attempt. No one has been arrested in the case.
Dolan cites several reasons for the increase and said he has plans to combat it.
"We get very concerned when we see that the people we're arresting are repeat offenders," the chief said.
Dolan said he worries that the "no snitch" attitude on the streets contributes to repeat offenders. He encouraged everyone in the city to report crime and to help police to identify suspects.
"By not telling, by not calling Crime Stoppers, they are aiding and abetting these individuals," he said.
The department is launching an initiative to improve security at convenience stores, which have been targeted in many of the robberies. The city also is trying to hire additional officers to put pressure on the robbers. The police force has 70 openings for officers.
"If I can fill more of those vacant positions it would certainly have an impact," Dolan said.
He promised that the training and enforcement plans will pay off.
"I believe strongly that we are going to see a dramatic decrease because of the men and women in this department," he said.