Top 10 ‘safest city,’ Cary got even safer last year

Cary, already among the safest U.S. cities, got even safer last year.

Overall reported crime fell 8 percent, while violent crimes fell 11 percent, according to recently released 2018 statistics.

“Being one of the safest communities in the nation is not something we take for granted,” interim Police Chief Toni Dezomits said Tuesday. “Seeing an 11 percent decrease in violent crime is a credit to the entire department and a win for the entire community.”

Cary has often ranked among the safest cities on national surveys. Most recently the town of 160,000 residents made a top-10 safe cities list compiled by SmartAsset, a company that provides online personal finance advice. The company considered factors such as crime, car accidents and drug abuse, among other criteria.

“We never lose sight of the fact that behind the statistics are our citizens,” Dezomits said. “They’re real people who live, work or visit Cary and put their trust in us to keep them safe. This is why we are always looking for new ways to partner with the community to raise awareness and prevent crime from occurring.”

Fewer police calls

Cary police responded to 4,482 calls in 2018, which was 364 fewer calls than in 2017.

There were 117 violent crimes reported in 2018, 15 fewer than in the previous year. No homicides occurred. Reported aggravated assaults and rapes decreased slightly, while robberies dropped by almost a quarter to 39 from 51 in 2017.

Cary police handled 1,772 property crimes, with the vast majority being larcenies (1,429). That was a 5 percent drop in larcenies from 2017. Burglaries were down 9 percent, to 269 from 295 reported in the previous year. Motor-vehicle thefts dropped 16 percent, with 68 reported in 2018 against 95 reported earlier.

After handling one report of human trafficking in 2017, none were reported in 2018.

Vandalism was down 14 percent, with 339 reported incidents compared with 395 in 2017. Drug offenses were down 12 percent to 493, compared with 560 in 2017.

Several non-violent categories saw upticks.

Police handled more alcohol offenses with 290 compared with 275 in 2017. Family offense, kidnapping and simple assaults saw double-digit percentage increases. Police handled 614 simple assaults in 2018 compared with 547 in 2017, a 12 percent increase. The increases in the other categories were by fewer than 10 reports each.

Calls almost were evenly divided among the town’s three police districts, though District 1 handled the most with 38 percent of the calls received. July was the busiest month as police handled 208 calls while September was the quietest month with only 120 calls.

Dezomits said the Police Department has strengthened its relationships with the community through the Citizen’s Police Academy. It gives participants a behind-the-scenes look at the Police Department.

Citizens Police Academy

Registration is now open for the 43rd session of the Citizens Police Academy that runs March 6 to May 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. It’s a free, 12-week course that focuses on policing, including criminal and constitutional law, patrol, youth services, DWI detection and domestic violence. Applications are available at the Cary Police Department, 121 Wilkinson Ave., or by email to crabtree@townofcary.org.