DOJ Assists Salisbury Police With Crime Reduction Strategy
Salisbury police officials say a newly released U.S. Department of Justice analysis of crime in the city is a major tool they will use in forming crime reduction strategies.
According to the report, homicides in Salisbury jumped from 1 in 2012 to 10 in 2016. Police say there have been six homicides so far this year.
The DOJ report recommends that the department offer more officer training, form a strategy to reduce guns on the streets, close communications gaps within the department and hire more investigators to ease caseloads.
Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes says the department has started to implement some of those recommendations, including getting extra funds to expand the police department.
"The council and city manager has authorized me to over hire by six which will take us to 87," Stokes said. "We’ve already applied for a couple of grants that they have directed us toward and some training, so some of those things are in progress."
Stokes says one grant would pay for a security camera system and license plate reader for the west end of the city, where a lot of the violent crime occurs. Another grant would fund increased security around schools.
The report also recommends that the police department work more closely with people in the community through outreach and training programs, including programs to help troubled youths.
Salisbury officials requested DOJ’s assistance last year. DOJ analysts spent several months reviewing police reports and call data, as well as interviewing officers, staff and community members.