Saturday, September 23, 2023

Wrightsville Beach Police crime report shows many offenses still below pre-pandemic levels

The Wrightsville Beach Police Department is struggling to retain officers and has lost more than 40 over the past seven years (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)
According to crime statistics released by the Wrightsville Beach Police Department, many offenses are down in frequency compared to previous months. (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — According to crime statistics released by the Wrightsville Beach Police Department, covering the period of July through September 2021, many offenses are down in frequency compared to previous months. Though a few metrics, like aggravated assaults, had an uptick. 

The report is split into two sections: “Group A&B” offenses include crimes against people, property and society. The other section deals with ordinances specific to the Town of Wrightsville Beach, like dog-on-strand crime and glass container violations.

There were 245 Group A&B offenses between July and September, according to the department. That’s down from 316 during the previous quarter, but up 18% from the same time period last year. 

“When looking at previous (pre-pandemic years) our total Group A&B offenses is still significantly down,” according to the report. “The last four quarters show 1,003 combined offenses while 2019 had 1,435.”

Destruction and vandalism of property offenses were down more than 50% from the previous quarter. Narcotic violations (18), while down from earlier this year, doubled compared to the same three-month window last year. 

The number of driving under the influence violations handed down between July and September, at 38, was consistent with April-June levels, but that number more than doubles DWI offenses reported during July-September 2020.

“We do note an increase in aggravated assaults (7 compared to 4 in the previous quarter,” according to the report. “While this is concerning, we are happy with our latent investigations, charging offenders in the majority of these cases (5 out of 7) and working to develop a more proactive posture with respect to assaults in the bar district.” 

Regarding town ordinances, total enforcement increased by 18% compared to the previous quarter, and decreased 8% relative to the same time period last year. 

“Glass container violations were up dramatically (almost double the previous quarter),” according to the report. “This is likely related to the addition of a new ranger. Dog on the beach, noise, and open container enforcement all appear to be in normal ranges.” 

Since July, the Wrightsville Beach Police Department has hired three new officers, according to Chief David Squires, who joined the department last year. (“We are happy to report that we will again be fully staffed in the coming weeks,” according to the report.)

“We were happy to support the great work of our Parks and Recreation Department by offering traffic control and security services to sports oriented special events,” Squires said in a statement. 

Last Tuesday, the police department set up a license-check station on West Salisbury between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Police handed out four no-license tickets, and six charges relating to registrations, according to a checking station report form provided by the department. 

“We just celebrated two officers who earned the Life Saving award (Corporal A. Rose and Officer L. Snyder),” according to Squires. “We continue to enjoy a productive partnership with the NHCSO, the WPD and the District Attorney’s Office. As the seasons change, we look forward to the Flotilla, the holidays, and an opportunity to focus on traffic enforcement and internal training.”

Wrightsville Beach Police Department Quarterly Report by preston lennon on Scribd

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