WNCT Video: Kinston town leadership asking for citizens help to combat crime

by Sasha Horne

The state Attorney General says crime is down state wide, the lowest in fact since the 1970’s.  The residents of Kinston say that statewide report isn’t a reflection of their town.

Wednesday night, at a town hall meeting, the people of Kinston told the mayor and the police the only way to fight crime are for the town to ban together.

“We’re going to have to start banning together,” said Tanya Underwood, who attended the open forum.

Underwood says she won’t stand by and watch her community deteriorate

In the past several months there have been a series of break-ins.

There have been four murders this month alone.

On June 17th, police found Elwood Hill gunned down outside of the Sutton Brick Company where he worked.  On Wednesday they released this surveillance video of a man they believe is the suspect.

It was the recent spike in violent crimes, like the murder of hill and U.S. Marshall Warren Lewis earlier this month that caused people like Underwood to call for Wednesday’s meeting.

But Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy says the leadership can’t do it alone.

“We could spend as much money as we possibly could to make our law enforcement more efficient. But the most effective means of our police officers being able to do their job to protect us for the citizens to get involved in the police department,” said Murphy.

Underwood agrees.

“When it comes down to it, you can hardly get anyone to go downtown to the city council meeting to address the issues,” said Underwood.

Underwood says crimes happen every day, and many times it goes unreported.

“A lot of people are scared to call 9-1-1- because they think a police officer is going to come to their house.  Simply ask a dispatcher not to send an officer to your house and you can remain anonymous,” said Murphy.

Neighbors were expressed concerned about police giving warning’s instead of issuing citations for teens in violation of the town’s curfew.

Murphy says the public safety department has vowed to be more proactive and citizens like Underwood vow to hold them accountable.