Charlotte Homicides Fall to 24-Year Low; Murders Clustered Among Poor


Charlotte-Mecklenburg recorded 52 homicides in 2012, lowest total in 24 years, reports the city’s Observer. In the four years before Rodney Monroe was appointed police chief, Charlotte averaged roughly 82 homicides a year. Since Monroe took over in 2009, police have investigated about 56 a year. As in many American cities, the homicides were clustered in low-income neighborhoods. While uptown Charlotte saw just one homicide in 2012, two adjacent divisions–Metro and North Tryon–accounted for more than a third of the city's killings.

Police say several tactics have helped lower the number of homicides, including an increase in the number of patrol officers and a stepped-up focus by police and prosecutors on taking habitual criminals off the street. Police may also be benefitting from larger nationwide crime trends, like a general decline in violent crime across the United States and a decrease in the number of crimes associated with crack cocaine, which pushed homicides to more than 122 in Charlotte-Mecklenburg in 1993. Crime experts also say improved emergency room care in recent decades has made people more likely to survive gunshot wounds.

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