Chief Putney addresses final 2019 crime numbers, makes plans for improvements in 2020

CMPD working with community to prevent crime

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reflected on the crime in 2019 Friday morning, while also recognizing officers who worked to break “the cycle of violence.”

CMPD covered 107 homicides last year, and violent crime has only increased since 2018.

“That number represents a loss of life to 107 families. I don’t think a number does it justice," CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said of the homicides.

“The reasons were petty, minor, arguments,” Putney said of the 2019 killings. “Over drugs, over social media posts, over small amounts of money,”

Putney said, which in some cases was $20.

The following statistics were provided by police Friday:

  • Overall crime is up 4 percent
  • Guns off the street are up 13 percent
  • Arrests are up 6 percent
  • Violent crime arrests are up 19 percent
  • Property crime is up 5 percent
  • Violent crime is up 12 percent
  • Rape is down 6 percent
  • Robbery is up 13 percent
  • Arson is down 5 percent
  • Aggravated assaults are up 11 percent
  • Burglary is down .3 percent
  • Vehicle thefts are up 5 percent
  • Vehicle break-ins are up 9 percent

Putney thanked Mayor Vi Lyles for her leadership, and said they are launching an intentional community-based enforcement in an effort to break the cycle of violence. The city manager already pledged $500,000 to that fund.

“Our people are doing fantastic work," said Chief Putney. "I highlighted some of the community work and now it’s fund that work and scale it up and reduce numbers that way.”

“I think right now, especially with social media there’s not enough conversation with each other, people don’t know how to speak to one another," said Big Red the Voice.

Big Red sees it everyday working as a barber in west Charlotte. He helps with the Cops and Barbers program, which helps bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement.

“So what we have to do as leaders, teach our people how to communicate and deal with problems instead of lashing out and fighting," he said.

Chief Putney mentioned that although 2019 saw a spike in violent crime, the police officers here worked tirelessly to solve those crimes. He said the department has an 80 percent clearance rate overall when it comes to violent crime.

“I think we’re doing some great work that’s going pay dividends in five, 10 years down the road," said Chief Putney.

Chief Putney also mentioned a new initiative to keep the police department, the District Attorney’s office and the judges accountable. Essentially the new plan will work like report cards and track the progress and success of how each of the partners of the criminal justice system are doing when it comes to keeping violent offenders off the streets.

“Both sides have to do their part," said Big Red. "The community needs to do a better job, the police needs to do a better job. All we need to do is to continue to work together and continue to do our best and show our best.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.