Unsolved Murders Underline Racial Tensions In The Community

Unsolved Murders Underline Racial Tensions In The Community

6:00pm Dec 21, 2014

A recent report shows that the rate of unsolved crimes in Winston-Salem and Greensboro is worse than other parts of the state. In his piece “Getting Away With Murder”, Jordan Green with Triad City Beat looked into the many reasons behind why these cities have that dubious distinction.

Green's investigation found that over a 12-month period, over 52.3 percent of Winston-Salem's homicide cases were unsolved. Greensboro was just behind that, with 40.7 percent. Both are more than Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham. The numbers don't shed much light on a reason but there is a common denominator: the victims are disproportionately young, black and male. 

Crimes involving this demographic prove to be difficult to solve, as young people are typically better connected and have a broader social network, which can make pinpointing suspects harder. Green also looked into staffing levels and found comparable resources between the Triad police departments and those in other cities. 

"They [police] don't really have an answer as to what the problem is, which is unsatisfying to hear, I'm sure, and unsatisfying for me to say," says Green. "But they say that they take the cases very seriously. Detectives take phone calls in the middle of the night or take time away from their holidays to try and solve the cases."

Winston-Salem's police department is careful to mention in the article that there are many unique situations for all the crimes involved, but acknowledge that their best tool  is the community, which isn't always forthcoming. 

April Hargrove, whose brother was murdered last year, says she thinks that someone knows who killed him and yet the case remains a mystery. Cranston Hargrove was shot outside his home in Winston-Salem on October 30, 2013.

"First of all, it's hard to deal with the fact that I lost my brother. And then it's even harder to deal with the fact that no one's been charged in this senseless murder. That hinders the healing...the closure," says Hargrove. 

She says community members have readily given her information relating to the case but are not willing to share that with the police. It's gotten to the point where Hargrove won't accept the phone calls anymore, unless the person agrees to speak with detectives. 

"If the community is apprehensive to see the police, they're not going to be willing to go to the police for anything," says Hargrove. "In general, the community does not feel that the police are the good guys."




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