Statesville Police David Onley said targeted enforcement efforts helped slow the increase in violent crime in the city in 2023.

Chief David Onley

Although the number of homicides declined sharply, the total number of violent crimes increased slightly from 207 in 2022 to 209 in 2023. Property crimes were also essentially flat, decreasing from 1,148 in 2022 to 1,317 in 2023.

In May of 2023, the SPD rolled out a Special Southside Unit aimed at removing firearms and drugs from neighborhoods.

That initiative, Chief Onley told the Statesville City Council on Monday night during his annual crime report, has paid dividends, particularly in the decline of gun-related crimes. In past years, crime has spiked during the summer months, but with the increased officer presence and enforcement that jump did not occur in 2023.

Officers assigned to the Southside Unit seized 62 firearms, along with fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and illegal pills, along with cash.

The strategic use of license plate readers and surveillance cameras in South Statesville were instrumental in those efforts, Onley said.

“I’m just going to tell you that this, along with the efforts of our guys down in South Statesville, has done a tremendous job of getting rid of a lot of the stuff that was going on down there before,” the chief said.

PD officers assigned to the Southside Unit made 200 arrests and served 428 warrants in 2023.

The SPD’s efforts to reduce gun crime yielded results across the entire city. A total of 228 firearms were seized by officers in 2023, up from 143 in 2022.

Overall, the number of calls for service increased by nearly 22 percent. The number of police pursuits also increased, along with the number of incidents in which officers used force.

City Councilwoman Doris Allison said she was appreciative of the SPD’s efforts to make the city safer.

“I am so grateful for where we have come from because we do have a good police department, and it could not have been if it had not for the leadership of the former Chief Addison and our current police chief, who is making a difference and he has not dropped the ball,” Allison said. “I want to say thank you Chief for everything you have done.”

SPD 2023 Crime Data

Violent Crime & Property Crimes

Traffic Unit

Evidence Seizure

Calls for Service

Use of Force & Crashes

Criminal Investigations

Special Southside Unit