Charlotte has made public safety strides this year, but increases in homicides and home break-ins overshadow the progress, reports the Charlotte Observer. Police investigated 61 homicides over the first three quarters this year, up 17 percent from 52 investigated during the same period last year. The number of reported home burglaries was up 10 percent, as the economy soured and unemployment grew.
The burglary spike has riled neighborhoods, with residents demanding greater police presence and attention on property crime. Some neighborhood associations have hired their own security, formed citizen foot patrols, and marched on City Hall. A police official said the increase in homicides is especially troubling because it overwhelmingly involved black victims and suspects. Patrick Graham of the Urban League of Central Carolinas said, “It seems culturally, for some in our community, life doesn’t have any value.” Graham said black-on-black crime is a story of economics – not race – because too many black people are also poor.