Violent Crimes Task Force

The High Point Violent Crimes Task Force was created to improve the quality of life for the residents of High Point by reducing violent crime, using a comprehensive, collaborative data-driven strategic approach involving federal, state, and local resources to identify violent, repeat, and/or group offenders, and employ prevention and intervention techniques to stop the violence.

The High Point Violent Crimes Task Force is a partnership between law enforcement (federal, state, local, probation and parole officers, the district attorney, and United States attorney), and the High Point Community Against Violence Group (HPCAV) (community members, clergy, service agencies, non-profit, private, govern-mental and educational agencies/groups).

Strategic Goal
Currently, two detectives represent the High Point Police Department's Violent Crimes Task Force. The ultimate goal is to develop a comprehensive, holistic community-wide strategy to reduce violent crime. Cooperating agencies, both public and private, and community resources work together to reduce duplication of services and participate in developing and implementing the community-based / faith-based strategy.

Strategy Success
The strategy implemented in High Point has been effective because it incorporates a wide range of goals within and outside the conventional notions of law enforcement. The essential theme of the strategy transforms the relationship between community and police, and recognizes the long-term need to identify and intervene with those individuals who are most at-risk of becoming perpetrators and/or victims of future crimes of violence.

Strategy Parts
The High Point violent crime reduction strategy includes six parts:
  1. Identification - Identifying those persons committing violent crime and the patterns of violent criminal behavior.
  2. Investigation / Prosecution - Properly investigating cases to produce criminal charges and working toward a successful prosecution in court (conviction on the charge).
  3. Notification / Offer - Telling violent offenders that any future crimes they commit will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, to include maximum prison time. Then, offenders are offered a variety of community resources to help them change their lifestyles and to stop committing violent crimes.
  4. Resource Delivery - Providing the community resources to the individual.
  5. Follow Through - Checking the progress of the individual and ensuring that there is no further criminal behavior.
  6. Evaluation - Evaluating each case individually for the success or failure to assist the individual.
This is not a strategy to forgive offenders for serious criminal activity committed in the past. It is a promise to vigorously prosecute repeat, violent and/or group offenders who continue to engage in violent activity. It is an offer by the community (HPCAV) to assist those who want to change their lifestyles by delivering resources.

Twofold Message
The High Point Community Against Violence message is twofold: that violent behavior will not be tolerated in the community, and that the citizens support the High Point Police Department in keeping High Point safe for everyone. The High Point Community Against Violence extends an offer to individuals who want to change their lives, but need assistance to do so. This help includes:
  • Educational opportunities
  • Encouragement when circumstances are difficult
  • Finding employment
  • Housing
Other community members are active in victim assistance and advocacy. Their work focuses on helping victims, their families, and neighborhoods recover after a violent crime has taken place. Repeat visits to families and neighborhoods, as well as candlelight vigils are examples.

Long & Short Goals
The High Point initiative has both short and long term goals. The short-term goal is to reduce violent crime through strategic prosecution, and to deter others by notifications. The long-term goal is to bring all "players" to the table and address, through strategic planning, the underlying issues that contribute to violent behavior.

Community & Law Enforcement Relationship
The High Point initiative is a comprehensive community-wide strategy. It has helped redefine the relationship between law enforcement and the community.

Previous law enforcement initiatives demonstrate that effective strategies can be led by law enforcement but not by the police working in isolation. The involvement of the community is the key ingredient; without which the most inspired police approach could not succeed.