Cover Story: Cracking murder cases - | WBTV Charlotte

Cover Story: Cracking murder cases

By Jeff Atkinson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police can't always stop crimes.  But their success rate of solving murders is quite high.

More than 80-percent of the homicides in Charlotte-Mecklenburg have been solved and closed this year, way above the national average.

The department is committing a lot of resources to clearing these cases putting more boots on the ground, hiring a crimestoppers officer and increasing the reward amount for tips.

Crime tears a community apart.

When a loved one is murdered every family wants justice. And for some it comes quicker than for others.

"I'm sad. I wish me and my family could get closure. We could know who did this and why."

She can tell you how long it's been.  Eight months and 13 days since Donielle Prophete's older brother was shot to death at the front door of his home in west Charlotte just after midnight April 3rd of this year.

Said Prophete, "It's hard because we don't know who would want to do that to Tony. If he had been a bad person then maybe. Just not having a clue as to why somebody did this."

And apparently neither do police have a clue to who killed Tony Alston, a 44-year old gay man who spent most of his time dressed as a woman.

He is among the 56 people murdered so far this year in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  45 murder cases have been cleared.  11 are unsolved including Alston's.

"I want them to know that their case is not forgotten. It doesn't matter when it happens someone is always working on their case," said Major Vicki Foster, supervisor of the Homicide Unit.

CMPD has managed to solve 80-percent of the homicides that occurred this year.  Far and away above the national average of 63-percent.

"If you commit a murder in Charlotte-Mecklenburg then we are going to catch you. What I say it's just a matter of time," said Foster.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police has a new officer specifically dedicated to the CrimeStoppers program.

On the beat, raising awareness about crime, asking people if they have information about any unsolved cases.

Also this fall the department raised from $1,000 to $5,000 the reward amount CrimeStoppers will award for tips leading to an arrest and conviction, a 500-percent increase.

Those who we've lost their names are etched in bricks in the Children's Memorial Walkway at Frazier Park.

It's a place Donielle Prophete finds comfort till her brother's killer is caught.  "All the time we have to walk around knowing somebody just walked around here and killed him. We don't know if you're in our face smiling. We don't know if you came to our funeral. We don't know. We don't know who to trust.. who not to trust. We do want closure," she said.

Cops point out that 80-percent of homicide victims knew their attacker.

Your chance of being a victim of a random murder is not that high in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, it happens of course but not that often.

CMPD's murder clearance rate has been higher than the national average for the last three years.  If you factor in the cold cases the department has solved this year that books the clearance rate to 89-percent.

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