Rocky Mount police investigated a total of eight homicides in 2012, a welcome decline from the 12 homicides of 2011 and the 11 homicides of 2010. Since 2005, the city has had fewer than eight homicides only once, in 2009.
Every homicide is serious, of course, but the relatively low number for 2012 is good news for the new year.
Eight homicides in a city of about 60,000 people is equivalent to a per-capita murder rate of 14 per 100,000 people. To put that in perspective, the per-capita rate in 2011 equaled more than 20 murders per 100,000 people.
Police will tell you that homicide is a tough crime to prevent. It almost always boils over from a heated argument or other moment of rage.
Frequent neighborhood patrols do a world of good in the prevention of theft and property crimes, but they can’t put officers in the kitchens or bedrooms of a residence where a domestic argument is occurring.
Even so, the rest of us can help police better do their jobs after a homicide has occurred. Of the eight homicides in 2012, for example, five remain unsolved.
Police continue their investigations into those cases, but they rely heavily on our community to step forward with information about what we might have seen or heard at the time of the murders.
Without eyewitness accounts and other evidence, police and prosecutors are seriously hampered in their efforts to send killers to prison – where they belong.
Lend a hand to Rocky Mount police and the community you call home. Don’t harbor information that can help put away serious criminals. Share it with the authorities who are charged with keeping all of us safe.