Drug arrests, seizures rise in Lenoir

Police chief calls it sign of good policing
Oct. 23, 2013 @ 08:10 AM

The amount of drugs seized and number of drug arrests in Lenoir have increased dramatically over last year, but Police Chief Scott Brown says the numbers are a result of good policing.

"I was doing cartwheels all the way to City Hall, I was so happy with this report," Brown said.

The report Brown presented Tuesday during a meeting of Lenoir's Committee of the Whole says that the amount of illegal narcotics seized from January to September 2013 increased 87 percent from the same period last year.

Most notable was the amount of crack cocaine seized during drug arrests -- from 17.2 grams in 2012 to 219.11 grams in 2013, a 1,140-percent increase during the first nine months.

A total of 1,087 dosage units of prescription pills were seized in 2013, up 237-percent from the 323 taken in 2012.

Drug arrests are also up 41 percent from 2012 to 2013, and 121 percent from July to September. 

"Both methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse are on the increase in Caldwell County, but we also have more people working on these cases," Brown said. "Drug enforcement has been a priority. We've increased staffing in our narcotics division, and are active in the community not only in calls for service but also undercover operations and stepped up patrols."

The number of arrests for community crimes, which include a range of crimes include property damage, arson, assaults, rapes, robberies and murders, also showed a dramatic spike in the same period, increasing from 324 to 518, a 60-percent increase. Brown pointed out that while the number of arrests is up, the number of crimes reported in 2013 is down over the same period. This pattern, he says, is reflective of good policing.

"Anytime you see an increase in the percentage of arrests, you'll want to see a reduction in reported crimes," he said. "This is real change in a good way."

The department also wrote 50 percent more traffic citations in 2013, and has written twice as many warning citations. The result, Brown says, is a 37-percent reduction in crash injuries.

"People are slowing down," he said. "This is the new normal. This needs to be our standard."