GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Opioids killed three times more people in Greensboro in 2017 than the previous year, according to Greensboro Police Department.

Twenty-one people died from opioids in 2016 - that number more than tripled to 64 in 2017. Police say those numbers still need final confirmation through the medical examiner's office.

In 2016, Greensboro Police reported 141 overdoses - that number rose to 364 in 2017.

These numbers come from a 2017 year-in-review 'Safer City' report from the police department that Chief Wayne Scott presented to Greensboro City Council members Tuesday night.

Safer City 2017 Report from Greensboro Police

Chief Scott talked about the successes from the year, but also things that police and community members can improve to make Greensboro a safer place.

According to the Safer City report, Greensboro Police had success in four key areas: employment, youth outreach, housing, and the gun stoppers program.

  • Employment - Police publicized incentives for businesses to hire people with criminal records, and began conversations with agencies that help with job placement.
  • Youth - Greensboro Police saw success with its two programs: Law Enforcement Explorers and S.O.S.
  • Housing - Police held community meetings in challenged neighborhoods.
  • Gun Stoppers - Police recovered 34 guns because of the program. There were 18 arrests, 101 felony charges, and 24 cases were solved.

Chief Scott spoke about the future of the Safer City initiative during the city council meeting. Police hope to increase the number of neighborhood watch groups; host community-collaborative job fairs that focus on hiring past-offenders; find more people willing to become mentors through United Way's Mentoring Matters program; and create a culture that doesn't sustain or feed gangs.

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