Some Cary residents are concerned about a recent upswing in violent crime – particularly in the western part of town.
Although the total number of reported crimes is down 13 percent from last year, violent crime is up 23 percent, said Capt. Ken Quinlan, district commander for western Cary.
There were 92 violent crimes reported by mid-September, up from 75 reported by the same time last year, he said.
Four of the violent crimes were homicides, the highest number in several years.
Five others – including a gas station robbery at gunpoint, three robberies at knifepoint in quiet western Cary neighborhoods and a car chase that ended at Town Hall in downtown Cary – occurred over a 19-day span at the end of summer. No one suffered major injuries in those incidents.
But an outcry from residents prompted Cary police to hold three community meetings between Sept. 18 and Sept. 28. A total of 150 people attended meetings at the Cary Park, Greystone and Stonewater subdivisions, Quinlan said.
“The numbers are going down,” Quinlan said, referring to the total number of crimes reported in Cary. “But what is most important is how people are feeling. That’s why we’re here to work with them.”
Police gave residents tips on staying safe and protecting their homes, while announcing that six new police officers will begin patrolling western Cary in January. The Cary Town Council had approved funding for the positions earlier this year to give the police department enough resources to keep up with rapid residential growth in the area.
Thirty police officers already patrol the area, and the total number of reported crimes is down 10 percent this year, Quinlan said.
Yet there is still work to be done.
Police charged two people with attempted murder for their roles in the car chase. They also made arrests in three of the four homicide cases. In the fourth case, the lone suspect killed himself.
But police are still investigating the four armed robberies in western Cary, Quinlan said.
News of the robberies and car chase – in which witnesses heard at least one gunshot – prompted multiple residents to email Cary police and Town Council members to express their doubts about the town’s reputation of being safe.
Cary claimed to have the nation’s lowest crime rate in 2012 among towns with similar populations.
“However, with the recent occurrences and obvious increase in crimes, that title might soon be meaningless,” Cary resident Judong Shen wrote in an email.
Several other residents sent emails with form letters that contained the same pleas for help.
“Individuals and homeowner families can’t seem to find safety within their own neighborhood,” the emails said. “We wish to raise awareness and kindly request the Town of Cary take the necessary steps to address these issues.”