Pitt County Schools crime, dropout rates decrease

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Crime in schools is on the decline in North Carolina, according to a consolidation report from the 2015-2016 school year the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction released this week.

The rate decreased nearly 4 percent total from the previous year, and it is down more than 3 percent in high schools.

During the 2014-2015 school year, there were 89 reports of crime on Pitt County school property.

Last year, only 65 instances were reported, a 27 percent drop.

While it is an improvement, it is not where Pitt County Schools want to be. The school system said keeping schools safe is the number one priority. They are using security cameras, student resource officers and new ways of keeping entrances secure to accomplish their goals.

“SROs (school resource officers) do a great job, but you also see a change in the mentality of the students,” said Lt. Kip Gaskins with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office. “They really come to school to learn. And they really want a safe environment.”

Gaskins, a former student resource officer supervisor, said the decrease in crime rates is a combination of several resources.

“You can’t really just say it’s one thing,” said Gaskins. “Without all these elements in play, we wouldn’t have safe schools.”

Crime rates aren’t the only thing on the decline. According to the report, dropout rates are also decreasing.

“Our school counselors are working with our teachers, our administrators, our parents; they play an invaluable part in addressing our dropout rates in helping work with students who may be facing academic or personal barriers to success,” said Travis Lewis, director of community and students services at Pitt County Schools.

Pitt County Schools hope to have continued safety and academic success.

“You take the technology out of it, we’re bad,” said Gaskins. “You take the SROs out of it, we’re bad. You take the school safety training, you can’t take anything away. It’s the conjunction of all of it together that makes this work.”

Not every school in Pitt County has the same amount of security.

Buzzing systems are expected to be added to every school in the next few months.

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