Safer Community Together

Wake County is community-focused when it comes to public safety. Timely responses and compassionate care are at the heart of what we do. We are dedicated to enhancing emergency services, improving response times, and helping those impacted by an emergency return to a sense of normalcy. A proactive approach to reducing crime rates ensures a safer environment for all.

The county identified three strategic goals in the Safer Community Together focus area. We encourage you to explore each goal to understand our rationale, view community and key performance indicators, and find links to other comprehensive plans and resources.

Goal 1: By 2029, 80% of all County public safety calls will receive an appropriate and timely emergency response.


Public safety services, including law enforcement, EMS, and fire service, must respond promptly and appropriately during a crisis. Residents need to know that when they dial 911, a well-trained and well-equipped person will be there to help them in a time of need, from on-scene emergency responders to behavioral health professionals (i.e., nurse navigators). Wake County is committed to efficiently protecting all community members based on best practices, prevention, continual improvement, and service consistency.

Public safety response standards are based on established protocols, regulations, and best practices designed to protect the community and respond effectively to emergencies. These standards are informed by research, technological advancements, and lessons learned from past incidents. They aim to ensure coordinated, efficient, and effective emergency responses to minimize risk, harm, and damage during incidents and disasters, and ultimately save lives and protect property.

Equitable service delivery underscores the County’s commitment to protecting all community members, regardless of location or status. Wake County supports representation in public safety agencies and seeks to promote volunteerism in fire service, increase diversity in hiring first responders, and increase community involvement.

Public safety is only possible because of first responders' hard work and dedication. Wake County is committed to caring for first responders and improving their physical and behavioral health. Addressing violence against public safety employees is crucial, safeguarding those who risk their health and safety for the community's well-being.

Supporting Indicators and Metrics:

Safer Community Together, Goal 1 Supporting Indicators
Indicator FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 Updated
Percent of fire departments in the County meeting the seven-minute response requirements (Target, 80%) --- 73% 65% 67% Aug 2023
Percent of time the Emergency Operations Center and Auxiliary facilities are maintained in a state of readiness (Target, 90%) --- 84% 92% 100% Aug 2023

Note: Response times are when a public safety agency is dispatched to the emergency location and does not include call handling at public safety answering points (PSAPs or 911 call centers).

Indicator CY 2020 CY 2021 CY 2022 CY 2023 Updated
CCBI crime scene calls are responded to within one hour (Target, 90%) 94% 95% 95% 95% Dec 2023
EMS system status - ESTAT duration in minutes (Target, less than 365 minutes annually) 782 2,924 5,126 --- Jan 2023


Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Goal 2: Develop baseline metrics for referrals to recovery support networks and services by 2025.


Wake County plays a vital role in healing and strengthening the community by connecting those affected by crime and emergencies to support networks and services. By guiding individuals to community resources, they assist in addressing immediate needs and lay the groundwork for long-term recovery and resilience. These efforts contribute significantly to helping victims, survivors, and even perpetrators return to normalcy, ensuring they have the tools and support necessary for reentry into society.

Victim services offer immediate relief and comfort, aiding in the healing process. Recovery courts that focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment, embodying a compassionate approach to justice. Youth diversion programs (i.e., Wake County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Haven House) provide alternatives focused on rehabilitation and positive development rather than incarceration and detention.

Holistic approaches foster a safer, more supportive community where individuals are given a chance to rebuild and transform their lives. Investing in such networks, local governments affirm their commitment to nurturing a community where every member has opportunities to be resilient, even in the aftermath of adversity.

Supporting Indicators and Metrics:

Indicator FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 Updated
Number of drug overdose referrals linked to certified peer support --- 604 552 697 Nov 2022
Cooperative Extension 4-H direct services for youth; Percent of justice-involved youth with no recidivism at one year 97.1% 100% 97.6% --- Aug 2022


Indicator CY 2020 CY 2021 CY 2022 CY 2023 Updated
Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) youth served 1,128 727 958 --- May 2023
Youth detention center commitment rate per 1k youth aged 10-17 0.06 0.04 0.09 --- May 2023


Goal 3: By 2029, reduce the Wake County violent crime rate per 100,000 people in Wake County by 5%.


Wake County can wield significant influence in reducing crime rates through indirect yet powerful channels. It can extend beyond traditional law enforcement and the criminal justice system to address the root causes of criminal behavior and support prevention.

Through anti-violence campaigns, Wake County can spread awareness and foster a culture of peace, encouraging communities to reject violence as a norm. Through investments in behavioral and mental health services, they tackle underlying issues that could lead to crime and violent deaths, offering support and intervention before situations escalate. Reentry programs play a significant role, guiding former offenders back into society with dignity, support and employment, reducing recidivism.

Initiatives that engage the community reinforce connections among residents, forming a collective stance against crime. Access to resources and diversion programs provides at-risk individuals with alternatives to criminal activities, emphasizing rehabilitation over punishment. Drug prevention efforts and gun violence prevention strategies, including education on safe gun storage, targeting specific risk factors, and reducing the opportunities for crime and violence to occur.

These measures embody a holistic approach to public safety, where prevention, education, and community well-being lead the charge in creating safer, more resilient neighborhoods.

Supporting Indicators and Metrics:

Indicator CY 2020 CY 2021 CY 2022 CY 2023 Updated
Violent crime rate per 100k population 262.9 275.8 283.9 --- May 2023
Crime rate per 100k population 1,894.8 1,844.2 1,995.6 --- May 2023
Juvenile delinquency rate per 1k aged 6 to 17 10.0 10.7 14.6 --- May 2023
Percent of citations (rather than warrantless arrests) 90.5% 91.6% --- --- Nov 2023
Safer Community Together, Goal 3 Supporting Indicators


Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources: