Police in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., chase murderers, investigate break-ins, and try to keep the community safe. For the last six months, they’ve also spent hundreds of hours keeping cars out of front yards, the Charlotte Observer says. Data obtained by the Observer show that more than half of the complaints under a new rule have fallen to police, troubling some city leaders and neighborhood advocates who say officers should focus on public safety. “These are important neighborhood issues,” said Mayor Pat McCrory, “but you don’t need someone with a gun to investigate.”
Police handled 976 complaints — about 60 percent of the total — compared with 711 by code-enforcement inspectors, the data show. But police wrote fewer tickets than their counterparts, 17 compared with 68 by inspectors. The burden falls more often to police because the parked-car problem largely occurs on evenings and weekends, when drivers are home from work. City inspectors mostly work weekdays until 5 p.m. In addition, there are 1,500 police officers, and only about two dozen inspectors. The police have asked a private company if it would be interested in taking over enforcement.