NewsChannel 12 digs for the facts on violent crime in North Carolina's Colonial Capital; it's what New Bern Police call "serious crime" and includes things like armed robbery, rape and homicide.
According to police statistics, New Bern saw a nearly 4.5% drop in serious crime from 2011 to 2012 -- going from 3,676 incidents to 3,515.
However, Police Chief Toussaint Summers, Jr., says the city did experience a crime spike late last year. He blames that on a series of break-ins between September and December.
Chief Summers said police are going door-to-door, visiting with business owners and offering advice on crime prevention. He said merchants can add items like locks and surveillance cameras to help deter thieves.
"It all starts with the community and the community having respect for another person's property and respect for life, and no matter how many times we're out here and arrest someone, there's always someone else that steps up," he said.
Savage's Pizzeria on Trent Road was one of the businesses targeted -- with three break-ins late last fall. Police have yet to make an arrest in the burglaries.
Thieves broke into two neighboring businesses on Middle St. in downtown in late January. The break-ins at Tom's Coins & Antiques and Bynum's Drug Store happened just days apart.
Police arrested Benjamin Krauz, 21, of New Bern, in connection with the incident at Tom's but have yet to make an arrest in the Bynum's burglary, in which oxycodone was stolen. Pharmacist Dennis Bridgers says he's pleased with how police responded to the break-in.
"I think they're doing a good job. Before they can make an arrest, they have to build a case and the police are following leads," Bridgers said.
Chief Summers says police do their best, and everyone else must do their part.
"Everybody takes a part in keeping our community safe. You can't just rely on the police department," he said.
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