Up & Coming Weekly

August 11, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1277456

Contents of this Issue


Page 8 of 24

8 UCW AUGUST 12-18, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Homicides spiking in Carolina by JOHN HOOD As if the COVID crisis and economic re- cession weren't bad enough, here's some more bad news to process: homicide rates are spiking in many North Carolina com- munities. rough the end of July, 32 people in Greensboro have been the victims of ho- micide so far this year, up 52 percent from the count during the first seven months of 2019. Charlotte's 68 homicides are up more than 11 percent from last year and more than double the comparable count for 2018. In Winston-Salem, homicides are up 17 percent over 2019. In Durham, homicides have tripled. ese developments are part of a na- tional trend. Homicides are up 14 percent so far this year in Los Angeles, 24 percent in New York, 27 percent in Houston, 32 percent in Phoenix, and 52 percent in Chicago. I know what you're thinking. You've probably already seen or heard the argu- ment that the antipolice protests that erupted a couple of months ago, after the highly publicized death of George Floyd, explain the recent increase in homicides — that as embattled law-enforcement officers withdraw from urban centers, violence is surging. Advocates of police reform resist this explanation, however. ey point out that homicides were going up in many places before Floyd's death and the ensuing street protests, that "defunding the police" and other radical demands have yet to be acted on in most cases, and that, in fact, other reported crimes are often flat or de- clining in the very cities where homicides are rising. e skeptics are certainly right to point out that events in May and June can't be the cause of events in January or Febru- ary. Indeed, as I noted, Charlotte's murder rate went up more in 2019 than in 2020. ese are complicated matters, to say the least. But it strains credulity to argue that adverse pressure on law enforcement isn't a significant part of the problem. Keep in mind that while some of the homicide spikes predate May, so do politicized attacks on police departments. Remember the Charlotte riots that fol- lowed the death of Keith Lamont Scott in 2016? He had brandished a pistol at police officers and refused repeated commands to drop the gun. Moreover, as e Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, the divergence be- tween homicides and other crimes could be the result of the pandemic. "Police in many departments said rob- beries, burglaries and rapes are down so far this year because more people stayed home during COVID-19 lockdowns, leaving fewer prospective victims on the streets, in bars or other public places," e Journal reported. "Homicides, on the other hand, are up because violent criminals have been emboldened by the sidelining of police, courts, schools, churches and an array of other social institutions by the reckoning with police and the pandemic, say analysts and law- enforcement officials in several cities." As for calls to reform the police, the specifics matter. e public largely agrees with constructive proposals to enhance training, increase transparency, and hold =__departments accountable in egregious cases. But slashing police budgets, dis- couraging people from cooperating with police investigations, and pulling officers back from high-crime neighborhoods are unpopular — and rightly so. Context also matters, as a recent study by two Harvard University scholars discovered when they examined the ef- fects of federally ordered investigations of police departments on subsequent rates of crime. Generally speaking, they found that investigations of police procedures didn't affect criminality. But in communities where there was a high-profile death at the hands of police — think Baltimore, Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri — the federally ordered investigations that came afterward were associated with large increases in homicides and other felonies in those cities. e likely mechanism, they found, was that embattled departments were pulling back from policing risky neighborhoods. "ere is no free lunch," the researchers concluded. "If the price of policing increases, officers are rational to retreat. And, retreating disproportionately costs Black lives." ere is no shortage of useful ideas for improving the quality of policing. But if we end up reducing the quantity of polic- ing, our cities will be less safe. OPINION In communities where there was a high-profile death at the hands of police, the federally ordered investigations that came afterward were associated with large increases in homicides and other felonies in those cities. FACVB 1/2V JOHN HOOD, Chairman of the John Locke Foundation. Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upand- comingweekly.com. 910-484-6200 AUTHOR Melody Foote Director of Communications Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau B U L L E T I N Download a mobile app for exploring Cumberland County. GET OUTDOORS As North Carolina con nues toward phase three of Governor Cooper's reopening plan, many are rediscovering the outdoor treasures found in North Carolina. Faye eville and Cumberland County has plenty of beauty spots to discover, and many are outlined in the Patri-Arts & Gardens Trail. A few are highlighted below. See the full trail at Faye evilleNCTrails.com. Faye eville Rose Garden Established in the early 1970's, at the Faye eville Technical Community College, the garden features more than 1,000 rose bushes and par cipates in the All-American Selec on. Enjoy the beau ful gazebos, fountains and flora. The best me to visit is from April un l the first frost. Cape Fear Botanical Garden Consis ng of 77 landscaped acres overlooking Cross Creek and the Cape Fear River, the grounds include a restored farmhouse, perennial gardens, a natural amphitheater, wildflowers, ma- jes c oaks, nature trails, numerous species of na ve plans and a "water-wise" gardening exhibit. Displays of historical farm- ing tools and techniques show how tobacco, co on and other southern crops were grown in the southeastern United States Cross Creek Linear Park In 1765, early se lers discovered Faye eville's Cross Creek. The se lement they established would one day become part of the city of Faye eville. Today, thanks to Cross Creek Linear Park, visitors can enjoy the beauty of Cross Creek. Winding along Cross Creek - skir ng downtown Faye eville - this beau ful greenway highlights the natural beauty of the area, while con- nec ng historic sites and points of interest along the way.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - August 11, 2020