CMPD Chief speaks at city council meeting, addresses violent crime

Published: Jul. 8, 2019 at 9:19 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - For the second time in three weeks, Chief Kerr Putney publicly addressed Charlotte’s increase in violent crime and homicide. Just half way through the year, Charlotte’s homicide number for 2019 is at 60. Monday night, Chief Putney and district attorney Spencer Merriweather addressed members of city council, calling on the community for help.

“The call is for people to step up and assist,” said Chief Putney. “My ask is that we take this a community health issue, because that’s truly what it is.”

Over the course of the hour, Putney and Merriweather addressed the climbing homicide rate but not just the numbers but who were the people committing it. They said 65% of the homicides and violent crime this year have been committed by people under the age of 25.

He asked for the community to step up to teach young people the right way to solve their problems, thinking it’s one way to get violence off the streets.

“You’re talking about almost 20 of those 60 were started as arguments,” Chief Putney said. “People just exchanging words and someone grabbed a handgun and resolved the issue.”

District attorney Spencer Merriweather joined the chief in emphasizing the importance of talking to young people about handling conflict.

“The Chief, nobody else, and certainly not me, can raise your children,” Merriweather said. “But if we can develop better ways when we respond to each other, not with anger but with civility and calm and peace. We model good behaviors and that allows our kids to live.”

Chief Putney also spoke again about his problems with the use of electronic ankle monitoring systems, saying they allow for repeat and violent offenders to get back on the street too soon.

“The truth is it’s being used far too often on people who are far too violent,” he said.

Although Putney said his units are arresting more people than ever, he said the violent crime will persist without the community’s help.

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