Published: Jul 24, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Jul 24, 2012 09:46 AM
HOLLY SPRINGS - Residents reported 25 percent more violent crime and property crimes in Holly Springs last year than in 2009, while county crime totals increased by about 6 percent.
“Our first impression was that a part of this comes from our continued growth,” said Police Chief John Herring. “We still are growing, especially on the commercial and retail side.”
Holly Springs’ crime increase looks less dramatic with more context. The town had enjoyed an unusually low crime rate in 2009, but its numbers last year were slightly above its five-year average of reported crime.
The greatest increases came in the form of aggravated assaults, which doubled, and larcenies, which increased by 33 percent. The majority of the town’s 220 reported larcenies, Herring said, targeted unlocked vehicles or construction sites.
“They’re taking low-hanging fruit,” he said, pointing to safer habits as a solution. Reported burglaries also increased by 14 percent, for a total of 90.
Other numbers, such as the surge in assaults, didn’t have clear causes, the chief said. “It’s tough, because it could be a lot of things,” he said.
One category, motor vehicle thefts, did drop from six to two reports in 2010 compared to 2009.
The town could see more crime reports in the coming year, Herring said, as a crop of new homes finish construction and the sizable New Hill Place mall opens shop. Residential construction is at a several-year high, offering plenty more construction sites as targets, while commercial centers tend to be a magnet for property crime.
“We’ve been primarily a residential town for years, so this is a whole new dynamic for us, when you start talking about movie theaters and bowling alleys,” Herring said.
The department also will have more developed ground to cover, though the 44-officer force plans to add two recruits to keep up with growth.
That expansion will be enough “for now, for today,” Herring said. “We are going to have to prepare for that – next year, I anticipate a significant request for personnel.”