CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte is looking to end 2018 better than it did 2017.
“Most proud of the reduction in violent crime,” said Charlotte Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) Chief Kerr Putney. “We’re down almost 8% in violent crime right now as we speak. We’re still making headway.”
Last year the city had 87 homicides and 2017 turned out to be one of the most violent years in Charlotte’s history.
Police say so far in 2018, there have been 51 homicides.
Putney says “our officers are doing some fantastic work in the streets and it’s paying dividends in the statistics as well.”
Police say they’re also seeing a drop in the type of crimes that impact more people: the property crimes that affect how safe people feel in their homes and neighborhoods.
“Actually we’re making some progress even in property crimes. We were teetering a little bit high now we’re about 1% down in property crimes – which is amazing given the year we had last year” said Chief Putney.
Is the drop in crime allowing CMPD to deal with other issues?
“We’re doing a lot of other work that we think is connected because the crime that you prevent you’re not having to react to and that’s our mission: crime prevention not crime reaction."
Chief Putney says CMPD is looking to bring mental health professionals to calls for service to help officers on the scene.
The department says mental health professionals would help de-escalate situations or if someone is mentally ill, will help with communication and get to the root of concerns and issues.
“Community Policing Crisis Response Team that we have out for bid – hoping to launch that first quarter next year,” said Chief Putney. “So we can proactively go out and engage with people who are in need."