CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte is looking for solutions that would stop the killings in the city. Some believe the answers were given 12 years ago when the city formed a homicide task force when there were 85 homicides back in 2005.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say so far this year, 70 people have been killed. That's more than all of 2016.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney is again imploring city leaders, community organizations and agencies to revisit the recommendations of the 2005 homicide task force.
"We can gloss over policies, procedures, practices, and everything else - but we must, I think, address it as a community and we're definitely ready to partner in that work. It's how we change those outcomes," Chief Putney said.
The chief gave the Charlotte City Council's Community Safety Committee an update on the police department's efforts to combat violence.
The department just launched the Community Empowerment Initiative that started in Hidden Valley and is now in Lakewood.
Officers have also been trying to be proactive with community engagement, youth diversion, high school forums, early intervention.
Still, the violence continues.
"We're 50 crimes away from being flat year-to-date with violent crime. The outlier is our homicides," Chief Putney told council members. "So far we're talking about 70 this year and people keep reporting on the number but the number means a lot than just a statistic. These are 70 lives lost in our jurisdiction compared to 44 last year (at this time)."
The Chief added, "But here's the troubling part that harkens back to the homicide task force report. Just like back then, about ¾ of our suspects and victims share race as a common factor. Almost ¾ of them are black."
The Chief said ¾ of the victims were killed by firearms.
Chief Putney says what was talked about in 2005 still applies today.
"I just think it's time for us to be empathetic to what really is driving all of these issues we talk about and then do work that really can change them," Chief Putney said. "The only way to save lives is to invest in them proactively and our partners are willing to do that."
The 2005 task force delivered 13 recommendations:
- Increase community awareness.
- Increase enforcement efforts that target the most violent offenders.
- Intervene early through the school system.
- Expand prevention programs.
- Expand mentoring programs.
- Increase job opportunities.
- Reduce availability of guns.
- Invest in problem-solving courts.
- Strengthen police partnership with Probation and Parole.
- Seek additional resources for the criminal justice system.
- Provide enhanced services to families of homicide victims.
- Support and enhance the network of services for offenders reentering the community.
- Develop a collaborative violence reduction partnership among the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
"I think those recommendations from 2005, 2008 and quite a few since then speak to the same thing," Chief Putney said. "We need to start doing work to change those outcomes."