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Homicides Are Down In Charlotte: Are Residents Safer?

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(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) — At the end of 2012, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department reported 52 homicides for the year — the lowest in 24 years.

Homicides in Charlotte have continued to decline for the last two years. Charlotte residents attribute the decrease in homicides to police chief Rodney Monroe, who became chief in 2009. Monroe has refocused the CMPD on crime fighting and crime prevention through a more accountable organizational structure, new and advanced technology and a more engaging strategy of community policing

Additionally, several other measures have been implemented — including a greater police presence in our city, new procedures during domestic violence related calls, and increased efforts to remove habitual criminals from the street.

While a decrease in homicides sounds comforting, does this mean that our city is safer? Well, yes…and no. A further evaluation of CMPD statistics reveals that overall, crime in our city had increased in 2012.

As of December 26, 2012:

  • 1635 robberies were reported compared to 1440, resulting in an increase of  13.5%
  • 206 rapes were reported compared to 195, resulting in an increase of  5.6%.
  • 2931 aggravated assaults were reported compared to 2716, resulting in an  increase of 7.9%
  • Total larceny cases increased by 6.5% (20789 compared to 19524) with the larcenies from auto up by 3.3% (7745 compared to 7495.)

Aggravated assaults increased in 2012, which includes assault with a deadly weapon. And yet, fewer people died in 2012 than in 2011. This could be due to several factors, including advances in medical treatment, the type of weapon used in the assault, age and overall health of the victim, location on the body where the victim was assaulted, and how quickly the victim seeks medical treatment.

Local resident and CEO/Founder of Community Inspirations (a non-profit organization,) Keya Woods says that despite the drop in homicides in 2012, she doesn’t feel safer. “My car was burglarized a few months ago. That’s the first time that had ever happened to me. To make matters worse, it was at 1:30 p.m. at a public park, that was filled with people! For the rest of my life I have the constant reminder that I was violated, and I will always link Charlotte to that memory,” Woods said.

While it’s definitely debatable on whether or not Charlotte residents are safer now than in years past, one thing is certain — statistics don’t lie.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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