City leaders take action after homicide rate doubles in 2022

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – An Eastern Carolina city establishes a crime task force in an effort to lower crime rates and provide resources for families in need.

Before the end of 2022, a community forum was hosted by the city of Kinston in hopes of curbing the violence. What came from it, was the crime task force.

In 2022, There were 10 homicides in Kinston, according to Interim Police Chief Keith Goyette. That’s double the rate of 2021 and four more than in 2020.

“We wanted to help reduce crime in our city, city and our county so to speak where we can actually pull together a good team of folks that can have an impact in our community by reducing crime,” said Mayor Don Hardy.

Hardy said this initiative is a collaboration between the city and the county, so representatives from the district attorney’s office, Lenoir County public schools, Lenoir County government, and others will have a role.

“Anytime you can get together and work together to focus on a situation, especially violent crime, crime in our city whether its juvenile justice or whatever the matter is I think it’s a great idea. I think anytime we can work together and part,” said Goyette.

However, that doesn’t mean crime and death will disappear. The first Kinston death of 2023 was discovered on January 6. Carla Lee Soula, a 42-year-old woman, was found dead inside her home.

The woman’s neighbor, Joanne Hendricks, recently moved to Kinston and believes a system for residents should also be in place.

“We don’t know what to do. So, if there’s like a plan that we could follow here if you suspect something is going amiss this is what you need to do this is who you can call,” said Hendricks.

The mayor says the first thing he would like to address is the issue with the youth, by showing students, parents, and residents available resources.

“We may not be able to reach everybody, we may not be able to change everybody or touch everybody, but we’ll definitely have an impact,” said Hardy.

This task force will have a meeting every month. The first meeting is set on January 12 at 10 a.m. in the Kinston Police Department’s training room.

Facebook