Matthews police, fire look to increase security, improve response times

Neighborhood protection was the topic of discussion at the first annual Year in Review town hall in Matthews.

As the town continues to grow, so does the crime. Police and fire officials said they are "at a tipping point,” and can't protect Matthews by themselves.

The town hasn't seen a murder in four years, but this year there were two-- one of them was the deadly shooting at Butler High School.

"We do see a significant amount of car break ins, traffic accidents,” Chief of Police Clark Pennington said.

Chief Pennington says historically, they've only reacted; now he's trying to change to a proactive police department.

"It's going to help us identify where crimes are occurring and predict where crimes are going to happen."

The deadly Butler High School shooting was one of the biggest challenges for the town this year.

"[We're] 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," Chief Pennington said. 

The fire department also is fighting for a better response time-- to be at your door in seven minutes or less. They're also using the new property tax raise to hire 10 new firefighters who will be on the street come January.

"We want to be competitive in our salaries and the 1.5% increase went toward that,” a Matthews fire official told FOX 46. 

Matthews has been named in the top 35 safest towns in the state, but officials believe development is going to max out in 2025.

If you would like to voice a concern there’s another meeting set for next Wednesday, Dec. 12.