Crime reports in Charlotte dropped nearly 6 percent in 2013 compared with the year before, although the department saw an 11.5 percent increase in homicides and a slight uptick in robberies, the Charlotte Observer reports. Police Chief Rodney Monroe gave credit to new technology the city got when it hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and a record number of tips to the Crime Stoppers hotline.
Monroe lauded thousands of anonymous people who called in tips about crimes–more than 2,500 people last year, a record in the program's 32-year history. The previous high was 2,100 tips. The department has increased the maximum amount a person can receive if a tip leads to an arrest from $3,000 to $5,000. It's also increased the ways people can send in tips, including text messages and a mobile app, and assigned an officer to boost public awareness of the program. The tips helped police close 449 cases and make nearly 300 arrests. Thirty-five homicide cases have been closed by arrest or other means as a result of Crime Stoppers tips in the past five years. In the five years before that, nine were cleared.