Neighbors and leaders in Matthews held their first annual year in review town hall on Monday night, discussing crime and how first responders can do better as the town is quickly growing. Fire and police officials believe the town will max out for development in the year 2025.
Matthews is one of the safest towns in the state, making the top 35 last year. But with more people comes more crime. The town hasn’t had a murder in four years, but this year there were two homicides, one of them was the Butler High School shooting.
“We do see a significant amount of car break ins and traffic accidents,” said Police Chief Clark Pennington. Pennington says historically the police department has been reactive. Now he is using data-driven technology to make the department proactive in preventing crime. “It’s going to help us identify where crimes are occurring and predict where crimes are going to happen.”
Pennington started with the department in January. Looking back at his first year, he was one of the biggest challenges were the unfortunate events during the deadly Butler High School shooting.
“We’ve never seen a response like that. But we are in the process of looking at response times, how many officers we had on scene, the communication and cooperation between not only us but fire, EMS, and also CMS.”
The fire department is also fighting for a better response time, hoping to be a neighbor’s doors in seven minutes or less after they make the call. They are using the new property tax raise to hire 10 firefighters who will be on the street in January.