Charlotte’s Crime Numbers Tell a Mixed Story

Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, Charlotte Observer, Oct. 29, 2008

Charlotte has made public safety strides this year, but increases in homicides and home break-ins overshadow the progress.

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The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released a mixed bag of news Tuesday in its September crime report. The numbers of violent and property crimes were down slightly from last year, 0.3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

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Putney said the increase in homicides is especially troubling because it overwhelmingly involved black victims and suspects.

The department didn’t have precise race statistics available Tuesday. But Patrick Graham, CEO of the Urban League of Central Carolinas, agreed with Putney.

“It seems culturally, for some in our community, life doesn’t have any value,” Graham said. “We have to renew a spirit of brother and sisterhood, in a real communal sense.”

Graham said black-on-black crime is a story of economics—not race—because too many black people are also poor.

“Something we attribute to race may (really) be attributed to class,” Graham said. “It’s just that African Americans find themselves in that economic situation.”

Violent crime in Charlotte’s black community is also caused by a breakdown of the traditional family structure, he said. “We’ve failed with the education of our youth, not just in our school system, but at home.”

Chief Rodney Monroe, hired in June, said he is focused on reducing crime using traditional neighborhood policing.

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