Community searches for solutions as violent crime increases in Charlotte area

Community searches for solutions as violent crime increases in Charlotte area

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As 57 families mourn the loss of loved ones violently killed in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area this year, Lucille Puckett knows what that feels like.

“Every time another young person loses their life, it’s like again, my son has been murdered over and over again,” Puckett said.

Her son Shawn was killed in 2016. So, she comes to meetings like Tuesday’s – called “Break the Cycle,” - to talk solutions. But she says, she has been leaving with a growing frustration.

“We can have these kind of conversations all day long,” Puckett said. “But what is that really going to change?”

Organizers say the community has to try to do something, and that begins with talk.

“Even if we’re not successful, no one will say we weren’t successful because we didn’t try,” Willie Ratchford with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee said.

The focus Tuesday was conflict resolution - especially among young people.

“They’re our future,” Norma Harris said. “And if we’re picking them up on the street every day, then the future looks very dim for us.”

Mayor Vi Lyles, and several council members, joined the meeting. Lyles, in part, told the room – which was filled to capacity – about ideas to offer activities for young people, like access to recreation centers, and meals served there.

“They can come in and not give up their identity, for a place to eat, and a place to convene that’s air conditioned this summer,” Lyles said.

As, in June, the amount of people killed in Charlotte in 2019 nearly surpasses the amount killed in all of 2018, this group puts pen to paper in hope of reaching real solutions.

“This type of crime is complex, it’s complicated, and multi-layered,” Ratchford said. “So it requires a comprehensive approach.”

Some community members like Puckett left the meeting a bit early, saying they were disappointed the mayor didn’t take questions, and that Police Chief Kerr Putney was not there.

The mayor and council members present engaged with the group during the group breakout time.

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