CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's crime statistics for 2017, the community will see some good news and bad news.
The good news is that overall crime was down in 2017 compared to 2016.
The bad news is that homicides and sexual assaults were up.
Police say there were 85 homicides in 2017 compared to 68 in 2016. That was 25 percent increase. CMPD says 60 homicide cases have been cleared by arrests. 24 homicides were related to domestic violence. 64 of the homicides involved guns.
"85 senseless losses of life is bigger than the statistic would lead you to believe," Chief Kerr Putney said. "We're talking about families that have been hurt, families that have been traumatized so we don't take that number lightly."
Meanwhile, sexual assaults increased 12 percent from 2016. CMPD says there were 306 rapes in 2017 compared to 273 in 2016. Police say 90 percent of the victims knew their attackers.
"We believe that in no small part the reason people are stepping up and reporting these sexual offenses is because of what's going on nationally," Chief Putney said. "It is becoming a part of who we are as a society to report this kind of thing to hold people accountable. We applaud these sexual assault victims for their courage."
The department says by the end of 2017 there was some good news, with violent crime showing a decrease 3.6 percent. Robberies and aggravated assaults dropped.
Property crime decreased five percent.
"With that crime reduction, 3000 fewer people were victimized in 2017 than the year prior. That means 3000 fewer families were impacted by robbery, by car break-ins and having their homes burglarized," Chief Putney said. "While we did have some reductions in 2017 we know it's not earth shattering. We know it's not quite enough but we're satisfied to know we're moving in the right direction."
Chief Putney says different initiatives, daily adjustments to crime trends, and strategically deploying more officers to trouble spots helped the department get a handle on crime.
During the announcement of the end of the year crime statistics, Chief Putney recognized some officers have been doing community outreach, some going above and beyond while on duty.
One officer who was asked to stand was Officer Casey Shue.
At one point last year, Officer Shue was named officer of the month for her patrol work in the Hidden Valley neighborhood. She's also the officer who was shot and wounded when a gunman ambushed officers earlier this month in the parking lot of CMPD's Law Enforcement Center.
CMPD says 911 dispatchers handled 1.3 million calls last year and officers interacted with 620,000 community members.
Chief Putney says nearly 19,000 arrests were made, and approximately 1800 illegal guns were seized.
While some in the community filed complaints, others wrote letters of praise.
Police say there were 30 formal complaints against officers and 641 people wrote positive letters about police.