Quiet Christmas: Crime levels off over holidays

Published 8:56 pm Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beaufort County had a relatively quiet holiday season, according to local law enforcement.

One noticeable absence was the number of armed robberies Beaufort County usually sees close to the holidays.

“Violent crime appears to be down compared to years past,” said Major Kenneth Watson, spokesman for the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. “More specifically, our seasonal armed robberies are down. Historically, there’s been an increase in November and December, but we didn’t see that this year.

“I think relatively quiet is a good way to describe it,” Watson said.

According to Washington Police and Fire Services Chief Stacy Drakeford, a few break-ins, in which thieves got to gifts under the Christmas tree, marred the holiday for some in Washington, but police apprehended suspects in at least two of the crimes, he said. The investigation is ongoing, he said.

The Highway Patrol saw only one fatality on the roads over Christmas: an accident that occurred on N.C. Highway 171 in the early morning hours of Dec. 28. According to First Sergeant Brandon Craft, speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. Beyond the one fatality, Craft said the most activity troopers saw on the road was due to animal collisions.

“We had a huge spike in deer wrecks,” he said.

Most collisions between animals and vehicles occur between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., but Craft said driver awareness cuts down on the numbers.

“Drive slow, drive with your high beams on, pay attention to the eyes on the side of the road, and don’t try and swerve and miss (the animal). Just hit it,” Craft said.

Craft said swerving to avoid an animal often leads to more serious accidents. Now that hunting season — and deer-mating season — is over and the hunting dogs are no longer running deer out of the woods, he expects to see a decrease in animal collisions.