Scared and frustrated, 100 Charlotte residents marched on city hall yesteray and demanded that leaders do something about crime, reports the Charlotte Observer. Said leader Lori Archer Raible: “We want to feel safe when we are walking to restaurants or working in our yards and heading to the park. And right now, we don’t.” In the first three months of 2008, compared with last year, robberies increased by more than 15 percent, aggravated assaults jumped by almost 17 percent, and home burglaries increased by almost 18 percent.
Police Chief Darrel Stephens, who retires in June, said there are always variations in crime numbers, and that people should consider rates and long-term trends. The violent crime rate in Charlotte has generally declined for more than a decade, though the property crime rate has edged up in four of the past five years. “I don’t feel safe in my own home,” said Julie Eiselt, co-chairperson of the Neighbors for a Safer Charlotte. “We can partner to change this, but not if you keep telling us we are blowing this out of proportion.”