CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - So far, 2018 has been a better year for Charlotte when it comes to violent crime. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say during the first six months of the year, violent crime dropped eight percent compared to the same time last year.
2017 went down in department history as one of the most violent years since the city began keeping records. But, 2018 is seeing a turn-around with a decrease in homicides, rapes, robberies, and shootings.
In the Metro Division - where Beatties Ford Road is located - there's a double-digit drop in violent crime.
"It's very big," said Lt. Brian Sanders. "We're seeing decreases in total violent crime down 14 percent for the year which is obviously a good decrease for us."
Police say they've had three homicides so far this year compared to six this time in 2017.
"We focused a lot of resources along some of the Beatties Ford areas and some other areas that we had seen previous violent crime before. We put some overtime in these areas with specific, directed patrols, made some very good arrests. Our crime reduction unit has been focused on particular areas as well as well as known offenders," said Lt. Sanders. "Some success with good arrests and a lot of community engagement with walking beats and bike patrols. All of that tied together we believe has shown us the reduction."
Lt. Sanders says the community partnerships have paid off.
"I think it's just as important to know that the partnerships there with them are strong as ever," Lt. Sanders said. "They enjoy the partnerships that we have and I think all that time together is bringing the reduction."
"Yes. Definitely, definitely," said Waled Alboga. "I think they get in touch with the people more. Now you see them. Before they don't have that touch like now. Now you see them – they really have that touch with the people in this neighborhood."
Alboga, who has owned Buy Wise Beauty Supply on Beatties Ford Road for 18 years, has been around for the low moments of drug dealing, shootings, and murders.
Now, he says there's a different feeling in the community.
"It really feels good," Alboga said. "I can see who is doing the drugs way, way less than before - even the people using it I don't see much."
Alboga says he credits police and their commitment to working with neighbors.
"And that's what the people out here they want to feel – respect," Alboga says. "We are here to protect you and we hear what you feeling. We don't want you to be scared or unsafe. So that's what they wanted from the police and that's what now they're really seeing from the police."\
But, the crime statistics show there's bad news in Metro Division and all of Charlotte: a jump in vehicle thefts.
While residential and commercial burglaries saw decreases, property crimes have increased 1.8 percent.
Police say the rise is because of auto thefts. They say drivers continue to make it easy for thieves by leaving keys in vehicles and doors unlocked.