Will Charlotte's homicide rate tarnish the city's image?

Will Charlotte's homicide rate tarnish the city's image?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - People in Charlotte are concerned the latest homicide numbers will tarnish Charlotte's image. So far this year, more than 40 homicides have happened on the streets of the Queen City.

"It was sort of the country city, and yes I do think the image has already been tarnished by some of the violence," Charlotte resident Paula Page said.

Page believes the rise in killings comes as the city goes through growing pains.

"It is growing," she said. "It's a bigger city - much bigger than it was 40 years ago, and with that does come crime."

As people are concerned with Charlotte's reputation, local leaders say there are more important matters to deal with.

"I am less concerned about the image of Charlotte," Charlotte City Council member Lawana Mayfield said. "I am completely concerned about the livelihood of Charlotteans because we are dying out here, and unfortunately the majority of these murders have been of a black and brown person at the hands of a black and brown person."

Mayfield claims Charlotte's image will not suffer as long as development and other projects are happening throughout the city.

"The image of Charlotte is a pro-business city," she said. "That image is not going to be tarnished."

The council member believes the system doesn't benefit people who live in poor neighborhoods. She thinks the system needs to be changed - from preventing the easy access to guns to the judicial system getting some assistance to keep the bad guys in jail.

"If we put an officer on every corner in every neighborhood, if we don't have the courts to keep criminals locked up - then nothing changes," Mayfield said.

The politician also believes a lesson needs to happen in all communities about the value of life to help stop the killings.

"We have to figure out, really, how do we change this mindset for me to have as much value for your life as I have for my life?" Mayfield said. "And to figure out how there is value of my life, because if I don't love me then I really am not going to love you."

Mayfield thinks now is the time for people to be active in the political process and hold leaders accountable for keeping the city safe.

"Pay attention to who is in office," Mayfield said. "Pay attention to what their legal ability is in office and go vote."

Others believe Charlotte will recover because the city has been through worse. Back in 1993, Charlotte witnessed 129 homicides.

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